Brock University

Social Problems, Development and Policy in Africa I

Development in Africa has being hampered by a myriad of problems that cripple the social structure of a number of African countries and has further delayed the catching-up process with the West. Gender inequality, poor attitude to work, corruption, religious and ethnic conflicts, food insecurity, HIV/AIDS, child malnutrition, and environmental degradation are persistent in many African countries; however, these social issues continue to receive little research attention from both the development and academic communities. Many countries are plagued with dormant policies and approaches for tackling these persistent and frequently multidimensional problems. The overall goal of this session is to stimulate a critical discussion by academics and social researchers on case studies, approaches, and best practices related to the problems mentioned and examine the public policy implications for these challenges. Particularly, this session will situate problems within the context of potential policy intervention strategies. Papers are invited from individuals who are working on such initiatives, especially those that center on poverty reduction, social development, gender mainstreaming, health, policy issues, livelihood strategies, and other mechanisms that seek to improve the overall quality of life in African communities.

Session Organizer: Jonathan Amoyaw, Western University, ; Godfred Odei Boateng, Western University,


Kin group affiliation and intimate partner violence against married women in Ghana

Pearl Sedziafa, Memorial University of Newfoundland, , Eric Y. Tenkorang, Memorial University of Newfoundland,

The socialization of men and women in Ghana is understood as confering either patrilineal or matrilineal rights, privileges and responsibilities. Yet, previous studies that explored the csauses of domestic and marital violence in sub-saharan africa and in ghana paid less attentiion to kin group affiliation and how power dynamics within such groups affect marital violence. Using  the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey and applying OLS techniques, this study examines the causes of physical, sexual and emotional violence among matrilineal and patrilineal kin groups. Socio-economic variables that capture feminist and power theories were not significantly related to physical, emotional, and sexual violence. Variables that tap both cultural and life theories epistemologies of domestic violence were significantly related to physical, sexual and emotional violence among married woman in patrilineal kin groups in Ghana. Policy makers must pay attention to kin group affiliation in designing policies aimed at reducing marital violence among women in ghana.


From Special to Inclusive Education for Children with Disability in Southeast Nigeria: A Qualitative Study

Nelson Oranye, University of Manitoba, , Peter Ezeah, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, , Leanne Leclair, University of Manitoba, , Augustin Onu, Department of Sociology University of Nigeria Associate Professor , , Blessing Onyima, ,

Existing evidence shows that 80% of people with disabilities live in developing countries, but only 2-3% of children with disabilities attend school. In Nigeria education of children with disabilities is primarily seen as charity work rather than a human rights issue. Over the years, governments in Nigeria have introduced several educational policies, ranging from special education schools to integration and recent attempts at inclusive education. Yet, the barriers and challenges to inclusive education remain enormous. In this paper, we present findings from interviews with six policy makers from the ministries of Education and Social Development, who were interviewed as part of an exploratory qualitative study on inclusive education in three Southeast states in Nigeria. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using NVivo 10.0 software. Transcripts were coded individually and discussed during group meetings to arrive at final themes. Despite the federal government policy on inclusive education, findings show widespread disparity among the inclusive education programs in the three states. Important gaps exist between policies and actual practice across the states. In most cases the inclusive education policies and programs merely exist on paper, and have not translated into real change.


Domestic and Marital Violence Among the Three Major Ethnic Groups in Nigeria

Collins Nwabunike, Memorial University of Newfoundland , , Eric Y. Tenkorang, Memorial University of Newfoundland,

There is evidence that between half and two-third of Nigerian women have experienced domestic violence and that this appears to be higher in some ethnic groups than others. Yet studies that examine the ethnic dimensions of domestic and marital violence are conspicuously missing in the literature. We fill this void using data from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey. Results indicate significant ethnic differences with Igbo women more likely to have experienced physical, sexual and emotional violence compared to Yoruba women. Hausa women were however significantly less likely to experience physical and sexual violence but not emotional violence, compared to Yoruba women. Igbo and Hausa women with domineering husbands were significantly more likely to experince physical and sexual violence, compared to Yoruba women with such husbands. Also, Igbo and Hausa women who thought wife-beating was justified were more likely to experience marital violence, compared to Yoruba women.


Safe Motherhood Behaviours of Women Enrolled under Ghana’s Anti-Cash and Carry Health Insurance Scheme.

Jonathan Amoyaw, Western University, London, ON, Canada, , Vincent Kuuire, Western University, London, ON, Canada, , Godfred Boateng, Western University, London, ON, Canada,

This paper examined the impact of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) on the utilization of maternal healthcare services, using data drawn from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. Negative binomial, logit, and complementary log-log models were fitted to capture the independent effects of NHIS enrollment on the frequency of antenatal visits, institutional births, and the timing of postnatal check-up, respectively. Results from the study showed that women enrolled in the NHIS made more antenatal visits and were more likely to deliver their babies at a medical institution than those not enrolled. Similarly, those who attended antenatal care were more likely to give birth in a health facility. Institutional birth was also found to be positively associated with the likelihood of attending early postnatal check-up. However, those who were enrolled in the scheme were less likely to attend early postnatal check-up if they perceived the conditions at the medical facility as problematic. These findings suggest that Ghana’s initiative towards free universal health delivery through the NHIS may enhance equitable access and increased use of maternal healthcare services among pregnant women, and hence must be strengthened and resourced in order to make it an effective tool for reducing maternal mortality.


© Canadian Sociological Association ⁄ La Société canadienne de sociologie