Reducing violence against children in rural Tanzania: study results

boy sat on street wearing yellow shirt and black shorts

Violence against children is a serious global issue, and in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in particular. In Tanzania, a national survey revealed that approximately one in seven children reported experiencing physical violence before 18 years of age. 

Taking place in farming communities in Tanzania, the Skilful Parenting and Agribusiness Child Abuse Prevention Study examined the combined and separate effects of parenting and economic strengthening programmes on reducing violence against children aged 0–18 years. The study participants were predominately male caregivers (63%). 

In a recently published BMJ Public Health journal, the research team, led by Dr Jamie Lachman, reported the key findings:

  • The parenting intervention delivered to farmer groups was effective at reducing violence against children, with or without an economic strengthening component.
  • A high percentage of male caregivers were recruited to the parenting programme when delivered through existing farmer groups.
  • In villages that only received an agricultural intervention, children reported increased physical abuse and reduced positive parenting.

Speaking about the results, Dr Lachman said 'our research shows that parenting interventions may mitigate potential harmful effects of economic strengthening interventions on increased risk of violence against children. In fact, both parents and children reduced maltreatment when parenting and economic strengthening is combined in comparison to controls. These results are particularly encouraging given the high proportion of male caregivers involved in the study'. 

Discover more on the background to the study in the project video

Source: Lachman, J. M., Wamoyi, J., Spreckelsen, T., Wight, D., Maganga, J., & Gardner, F. (2020). Combining parenting and economic strengthening programmes to reduce violence against children in rural Tanzania: A cluster randomised controlled trial with predominantly male caregivers. BMJ Global Health. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-002349