Kenya’s Children

by Accolades Staff
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A multi-disciplinary team from the college has continued work on a collaborative project, supported by a National Science Foundation grant, to examine the daily experiences, health, and development of young children in Nairobi, Kenya.

Professors Hillary Fouts and Carin Neitzel from the Department of Child and Family Studies; Paul Erwin and Denise Bates from the Department of Public Health; and Dawn Coe from Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies are in the first phases of the international research collaboration with Kenyan colleagues to explore cultural variation in the care of 2 to 5 year olds—and how much that variation may impact the consequences of living in poverty.

The NSF grant, Catalyzing an International Collaboration to Examine the Impact of Poverty and Culture on Children’s Development in the Slums of Nairobi, has given the team the opportunity to work in conjunction with Kenyatta University and the Orphan and Vulnerable Children’s Project (OVC).

During a March 2012 trip to Kenya, the team held a four-day workshop with faculty, staff, and students from Kenyatta and the OVC. The workshop led to the identification of key issues while conducting culturally sensitive research in the slum communities. It also helped the team to identify outcomes that could be possible for these children and a path that could lead to a long-term international collaboration.

This past summer, a data collection team spent hours in Kenya observing children’s daily experiences, interviewing caregivers, and surveying households. This fall, the UT team will work toward providing one of the first detailed depictions of the lives of these children in the slums.

A video conference is in the works to help the international team discuss preliminary results, plan the next steps, and discuss ways to apply this information to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty.