IMPACT OF DOMESTIC ACTIVITIES ON THE EDUCATION OF THE GIRL-CHILD IN BOMBALI DISTRICT NORTHERN SIERRA LEONE
Household chores keep many girls out of school. Even when girls go to school, they are often sent to fetch water whenever it is needed. Most other household chores- including cleaning latrines, gathering wood, cooking, sweeping, baby-sitting, laundering and garbage disposal- also fall to women and girls. When family members become sick (often due to hygiene-related diseases), girls are more likely to be kept home to care for them. Many families cannot afford to educate girls because their labour is often needed in the home and in the fields. When household income is limited, the family may be unable to bear the direct and indirect costs of sending to school girls who perform tasks that are essential to the household economy.
The study considered the general characteristics of the respondents in relation to the impact of domestic activities on the performance of girls in schools. The study also looked at how domestic activities affected the social and psychological well- being of the girls.
Data for this study was derived from 500 respondents selected from seven chiefdoms in Bombali district. Focus Group Discussions for school girls, and parents, questionnaire instrument, tracing performance records for girls and hard and soft copies of relevant materials were the basis for the data generated.
The quantitative data collected was analysed using Analysis of Variance test (ANOVA) for computing summary statistics and the qualitative data was analysed with relevance to socio-cultural factors.
The girl-child in Bombali district, Northern Sierra Leone spend several hours of the day performing domestic activities such as sweeping, laundering, fetching water, pounding rice, cooking or helping in cooking family meals, work in the family farm or hawking before and after school. These domestic activities contribute tremendously to the average poor performance of girls in school in Bombali district. Interventions such as provision of water and social infrastructure would considerably impact the time spent on girls performing domestic activities and thus increase their chances of not becoming dropouts from schools.