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A Study of Child-Headed Households on Commercial Farms in Zimbabwe

3. Methodology
A child headed household (child headed household) is defined as a family unit of which the oldest person residing in the household is under the age of eighteen.

The "research" undertaken for this report involved the identification of 17 child headed households living on commercial farms in the provinces of Mashonaland Central and Manicaland, Zimbabwe. The households were selected from the FOST database which was updated in January 2002 and from information from the farm communities themselves. The selection of the child headed households to be included in the study was made from farms which were accessible and secure 1 The selection was, therefore, not scientifically done but an attempt was made to survey children from farms where FOST has not previously had contact as well as those with existing FOST interventions. It was felt, therefore, that the information collected was relevant and meaningful for the purposes of the survey.

Five of the households surveyed were in Manicaland (Chipinge 2, Mutasa 2, Makoni 1) and twelve are in Mashonaland Central (Bindura 3, Mazowe 6, Glendale 2, Shamva 1) This proportion is a reflection of the general distribution of the FOST programme activities and field staff.

The study involved the FOST field staff spending approximately half a day with the children. They prepared a meal together and an "interview" took place using semi-structured questionnaires. Two of the interviews were recorded on tape. Members of the farm communities in which these children live were also interviewed.

The interviews took place during the period 7th April - 7th May 2002 and were undertaken by a team of two people comprising at least one member of FOSTs field staff with two assistants being incorporated to facilitate the recording of the interviews. The interview schedules were prepared by the FOST team as a whole in a one-day training session on 5th April 2002. The analysis and compilation of the report was undertaken by the FOST Director in conjunction with the researchers.

  1. The research was undertaken during the post election period and many farms were still experiencing tensions
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