In praise of grandmothers, Africa Woman

Date: January 1, 1970
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Grandmothers play an important role in providing maternal and child health care in Africa.

This article may be used to:
  • Illustrate the importance of recognising the value in some traditional practices.
  • Highlight the importance of covering stories about role of grandmothers in care particularly in the light of the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Trainer’s notes

The opinion piece starts with a focus on a training programme for grandmothers to enhance their maternal and child health care skills. The programme aims to provide grandmothers with skills around family planning and nutrition which is then shared with their grand daughters. The article validates the important role of older women in the community and recognises grandmothers as ‘community resource’.
The piece is written in simple accessible language and from a perspective that shows respect for the subject matter. Quite often traditional practices are dismissed in as outdated and without value. The article acknowledges that there is a need to train grandmothers in safe practices particularly in light of the HIV/AIDS pandemics but that the training builds on a solid and important base of skills that grandmothers already have.
The accompanying image and headline complement the story. The headline validates the experience the grandmothers and the picture shows a grandmother engaging with her grandchild.
Training exercises
Exercise one: Read the case study and discuss the following:
  1. How often do stories about grandmothers and their increasing role of caring for children in communities appear in the media?
  2. Why is it an important story for the media cover regularly?
  3. What are some of the story angles the media could use to cover these stories?
  4. Why is this piece gender aware? (Look at perspective, language, the treatment of the subject matter.)

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