Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Behavioral Sciences

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2004
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Economics, Yale University
Family Networks, Inheritance and Orphans in Northwestern Tanzania

Due to the HIV/ Aids epidemic, the number of orphans in Tanzania has risen to a level where almost 9% of children under 15 are orphans. The main burden of caring for the orphans has been shouldered by family networks. Some evidence points to the fact that orphans fare worse than the biological children within the caretaking families raising concerns of discrimination. In addition, anecdotal evidence highlights cases in which orphans are cheated out of their inheritance (in some cases by family members). When members of the family network decide to take care of orphans and how that is linked to matters of inheritance is important as this might well determine how well orphans do in their foster families. The project proposes to carry out an analysis of the inner network of orphans: uncles, aunts and grandparents and to determine which factors influence their decision to take care of the orphan. Data will be collected on the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the members of the family network. In addition the assets and landholdings of the deceased parents will be traced. The Kagera region of Tanzania is a region bordering on Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi where the first Aids cases in Tanzania were diagnosed. Orphans under 15 make up around 10% of the total population of Kagera and around 20% of the population of children. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that family networks in some parts of the Kagera region fail to be able to take care of orphans.