Core values for many in Africa are related to system variables beyond the level of the individual: the family, intergenerational relationships, interdependency and socio-centrism, conformity to social expectations, avoiding shame and dishonour, the ‘performance’ of respect for elders and ancestors, and reciprocity, among others. In this Trinity Term seminar series with the title Navigating life in sub-Saharan Africa – adolescent socio-ecologies, we specifically focus on the environments in which (female) adolescents negotiate their lives in sub-Saharan Africa and how this influences their decision-making broadly. Focusing more explicitly on socio-ecological perspectives asks for the exploration into the dynamic relationships between groups across generations in relation to their socio-ecological contexts. This has obvious implications for our critical knowledge to inform intervention development: for example how collaboration between multiple sectors can be established towards the strengthening of meso-structures (the relationships between teachers, parents for example) and other adults in microstructures relevant to adolescents (multi-generational households). Presentations will touch on resilience, intergenerational relationships, violence, school ecologies, the media and specific interventions.
This series is embedded in the Collen programme at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, which is positioned at the fertility, education, environment interface. It is now widely recognised that we need a deeper understanding of the drivers behind the uptake of household reproductive decision making, and in particular the role that education and environment can play.