Korogwe 2, Tanga

Case study

Mama Gloria

Gloria’s schoolgoing younger sister helps her meet her many obligations
My paid work helps my care activities as I can buy family basic necessities like food and clothes for my child and young sister.

Gloria is 26 years old and lives with her husband (aged 36), their one-year-old daughter, and her young school-going sister in Korogwe District, Tanzania. Her highest level of education is Primary. Gloria works as a farmer at home for three hours per day, and also sells porridge and a few other things for a living. Her husband operates a food-vending business specializing in fried and roasted goat meat.

Gloria initially denies that any of the household members are involved in paid work, because she and her husband are self-employed, and so they don’t perceive the work as ‘paid’. She does, however, do work that earns an income. Her family is happy that she does paid work because she is able to support them. She says, 'my paid work helps my care activities as I can buy family basic necessities like food and clothes for my child and young sister.'

During the planting season Gloria works on people’s farms for a wage, which she does for about two hours each day. In the dry season, however, she sells porridge in the market. She says the income from this work is important for buying basic necessities. Gloria’s other potential sources of income could be to sell juice, soap and clothes in school.

At home, Gloria is involved in unpaid care tasks such as fetching water, cooking, cleaning the house and washing dishes and clothes. She gets support from her sister, who is in school and so only helps when she is available. Gloria’s sister helps to fetch water, wash clothes and dishes, and clean the house. When she comes back from school, she collects firewood and helps with the cooking.

Washing clothes consumes much of Gloria’s time:

Washing clothes takes much time because there I have to take care of my [daughter and sister] while washing. Also fetching water takes time because there is a very long queue at the tap. I have to wait until it is my turn – for example, I can go there at 4pm and return home at 6pm.                                                                                                                         

Gloria appears to have a predictable schedule balancing her paid and unpaid activities. However, she is sometimes not able to wash clothes, fetch water and do care activities due to her involvement in paid work. She initially says that the only period she cannot perform her unpaid work is when she is sick or away. On one occasion, her sickness affected her because there was no one to take care of her chicken, and the customers at the shop where she sells porridge had to wait until her sister returned from school. When probed further she responds, ‘let me say, if I get back from the paying job in the afternoon, I usually go to my gardens in the evening.’

Gloria says that sometimes she ‘may forget to prepare for the children’s lunch and they stay without it.’ Her paid work has benefited her care responsibilities as she is able to buy food for the family, pay for hospital bills, pay school fees for her young sister and also give her sister money to spend at school. Gloria gets tired from care tasks and sometimes cannot work in her shop and farm: ‘when [I] am too tired I cannot go and sell soap. When my young sister is back from school, she goes to sell.’ Gloria also explains that she gets tired from doing community activities such as digging the roads, and yet still has to do her care tasks when she gets home.

Gloria’s sister explains the potential benefits if Gloria could find work closer to home:

If she gets her personal place where she can sell her business, it will give her more respect. I would like my sister to work near home because when she works far from home she has to rent a place so that she can put her goods, and she does not have money. If she works near home it is easy to take the child to be breastfed when he cries. If she works near home it is easy for her to do her care activities too as she can do them while doing her paid work.

Although government services are fairly standardized across Tanzania, access to key services such as water sources, health centres and transport is often limited or problematic. Services also vary depending on location – for example, electricity is accessible in urban areas but not in rural. Also significantly, there are currently no childcare services provided by the government or within workplaces by employers.   

Gloria thinks that if her income increased, she would get a house helper to support her sister. She also thinks that the community should form groups to help each other with care activities, such as a daycare centre for children, and support in fetching water. She feels access to capital would help her increase the quantities of porridge that she could sell. Gloria’s sister also recognizes that lack of capital is a challenge, as Gloria may end up using capital to solve other family-based problems, rather than to grow her business.

Gloria suggests they should be compensated for time spent in community meetings. She also would like the government to bring water services near to the community, and secondary schools should be built nearby, so children could avoid walking long distances.

About Mama Gloria

Household (Nuclear)
Male headed
1 children
Contains male(s)
No care responsibilties for disabled people
No migrant(s)
No care responsibilties for older people
Children caring
Family/community support
Paid care
Public services
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Activities shown are a single day snapshot in the life of the woman.