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Adolescent children talk about their life conditions in Zanzibar - in relation to children’s right to participation and protection within the family
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


The overall aim of the study is to explore how adolescent girls and boys in Zanzibar perceive children’s position within the family and how they reflect about children’s right to participation and protection from harm:

What are the characteristics of rights, duties and social roles of children and their parents within the family?

What coping strategies do children use when facing difficulties within the family?

Do the children perceive child rights, particularly participation, as a mean to strengthen their position in the family and protect them from harm?

When collecting data two methods were used; focus group discussions (FGDs) and semi-structured interviews. In total 40 children in the age span 13-18 years from rural and urban areas in Pemba and Unguja islets, Zanzibar were involved in the study. When analyzing data a social constructionist perspective has been used, relating it to the sociology of childhood and to conceptions of the political child and cultural schema. The results showed the following patterns: rights, duties and social roles are determined mainly by age, gender, social, geographical and socio-economical factors. The strong generational order in Zanzibar, separate children and parents, with clear rules on how to behave with mutual expectations on performances based on respect, obligations and obedience. There was a clear gender order in which boys’ and girls’ rights, roles and duties were constructed in traditional stereotypical terms. Children’s coping strategies in difficult situations were constructed in relation to the issue of problem, gender, culture and context. Structural policies, i.e. the Child Act was constructed as a “problem solver” that should be used to educate people from the top in the societal hierarchy down to family level, in order to make parents understand and practice children’s rights as; “children obey parents, parents obey the Shea and Shea obeys the law”. The ability for children to make their voices heard within the family was seen as a precondition for strengthening children’s protection needs and would improve their abilities to contribute in the wider society. Rights are based on good relations with parents, other adults and peers. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 98 p.
Keyword [en]
children/adolescents, childhood, child rights, protection, participation, gender and family.
National Category
Social Sciences Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102423OAI: diva2:710217
Available from: 2014-04-11 Created: 2014-04-05 Last updated: 2014-04-11Bibliographically approved

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