Parenting, Family Care and Adolescence in East and Southern Africa: An evidence-focused literature review

Published: 2016
Author: Rachel Bray and Andrew Dawes, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Based on an evidence-focused literature review, this paper examines existing knowledge on raising adolescents in east and southern African countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Country selection was based on the availability of relevant literature and data. The vast majority of research on parenting and adolescent development is based in studies from the global north. This research sought to deepen understandings of family life, care practices and support networks in the east and southern African region so as to inform policy and interventions that seek to improve adolescent-family relations and reduce risk behaviours. Analysis of the regional literature prompts a reconsideration of conventional understandings of parenting and of support focused on adolescence. An evidence-informed model for understanding the ecology of adolescent-parent relationships in the cultural and economic contexts of the region is provided. In addition, a framework for exploring contextually relevant dimensions of parenting through research and practice is offered.