• A study of family life education experiences among Chewa grandmothers, mothers, and daughters in Malawi

      Banda, Eta Elizabeth; Ruth, M. Virginia; Kreider, Mildred Sherk, 1936- (1991)
      A significant problem in adolescent health care in Malawi is a lack of information about family life education. The purpose of this descriptive and correlational study was to describe family life education experiences of Chewa grandmothers, mothers and daughters as a means of identifying the nature of the organization and type of educational programme/learning experiences that traditionally have been offered for developmental task readiness for adult life. The subjects for preliminary interviews were limited to three sets of grandmothers, mothers and daughters, i.e. nine participants. This data was used to develop the tool utilized for data collection in the study. The sample size for this study was 300. Data analysis was carried out using descriptive statistics, chi-square, analysis of variance and content analysis. Family life education organization was primarily perceived to be either the responsibility of the family or a shared responsibility between the family, village and other social organizations. Family life education was mainly informally conducted within the family, although multiple resources were utilized for teaching. Music in combination with verbal communication played an important role in instruction and reading was observed to be almost absent as a method of teaching across all generations. Although mostly of the teaching was done didactically there was some practical experience in the sex education component where a female adolescent was given a male partner to learn and this male was called a 'fisi'. Significant differences were found in virtually all organizational variables, by generation and area of residence. Ten categories of family life education learning experiences were identified and tested for differences on the basis of generation and area of residence. The results revealed statistically significant intergenerational as well as geographic differences in learning experiences in sex education, menstruation and sanitary towel care, anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive system, socialization into adulthood, relationships with parents, elders, peers of the same and opposite sex, and disabled persons, traditional practices, psychological and spiritual issues. In addition analysis of variance to examine differences in traditional values between grandmothers, mothers and daughters revealed a statistically significant main effect for generation on traditional family values. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)