The power of Grandmothers

This NPR Goats and Soda story is too good not to share. In Swaziland, a successful (or least appears to be successful–can we evaluate it?) program to reduce child abuse via grandmothers is my new favorite thing. By empowering children to approach and talk to grandmothers about their experiences, and giving grandmothers the tools to get kids the assistance they need,

They use stories with animals to give kids friendly characters so that children can easily recall pathways for help. Grandmothers go door-to-door to introduce themselves and their role in the community, normalizing the practice and making sure everyone knows it is a visible role.

The program has helped address one of the challenges of child abuse — helping children understand that certain kinds of treatment are not OK and should be reported to a grandmother or another trustworthy adult.

I love this. My current research in Tanzania is partially focused on identifying people in communities who can play this sort of role, to model new social norms, or to be neutral arbiters and safe havens. I’d love to see it evaluated and replicated.


Author: ekfletch

I am an independent researcher on issues of gender, labor, violence, education, and children.

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