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Title:Down to fundamentals: women-centred hearth-holds in rural West Africa
Author:Ekejiuba, Felicia I.ISNI
Book title:Women Wielding the Hoe: Lessons from Rural Africa for Feminist Theory and Development Practice
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:gender studies
water supply
Abstract:The author revisits the ongoing debate on the usefulness and limitation of the household as a unit of data generation and analysis. Based on the realities of rural West African societies, the author argues for a woman-centred unit of social analysis, which focuses on women's activities and organizations and perceives their responsibilities and roles as both catalysts and full beneficiaries of development. She introduces the concept of the hearth-hold, a female directed social unit of consumption and production. The article first explains why households are a poor-fit category in rural West Africa and defines the term hearth-hold. Then it highlights a number of circumstances which give rise to a multiplicity of female-directed hearth-holds nested in a household. Finally, it shows that the distinction between the hearth-hold and the household proves particularly useful when carrying out socioeconomic surveys and community sensitization. This is illustrated with reference to a water project in 77 rural Nigerian villages in which the author was involved. Bibliogr.