The changing social structure and functions of the family: The case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe
Marufu, Ntombizodwa G.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature of changes in the structure and functions of the family, using Zimbabwe as a point of departure. Also included in the investigation was to determine whether such changes might have contributed to the emergence of children’s homes in Zimbabwe, why, when and how. The study assumed that children’s homes had a role to play in the development of orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. A further assumption was that there were effective legal and administrative frameworks which governed the welfare of children in place. Data were obtained through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, secondary and primary sources. The study was guided by a number of methodological approaches. However, a naturalistic and participant-oriented approach was more appropriate for the study than others. The approach falls under the qualitative paradigm. The main emphasis was on the interpretive analysis where the principal concern was the way in which research participants created, modified and gave meaning to their experiences, particularly with regards to causes of changes in the structure and functions of the family. The research exploited the strengths of triangulation data gathering techniques which included interviews, focus group discussions and secondary data. The study noted, however, that each technique had its strengths and weaknesses. For example, some interviewees tended to tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. Data reveal that the values of indigenous people were affected by colonization, urbanization, and modernization. The organization and functions of the family were affected by schools and churches. Today’s social complexities require that formal education of children be delegated to schools and churches, thus causing families to lose some of their functions. The study also established that there were links between parental loss and baby dumping, conflict and the subsequent emergence of children’s homes in Zimbabwe. The research has implications on policy issues, political processes, economic and social matters. A call is therefore made for further research in the area of the welfare of children particularly the role of children’s homes.
Additional Citation InformationMarufu, G. N. (2014). The changing social structure and functions of the family: The case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe (Unpublished Ph.D Thesis). University of Zimbabwe. Harare.
Sociology of family
Functions of the family