Cry and silence: Stories of child abuse in Mwanza (Tanzania)

  • Nicoletta Sciarrino Università di Perugia, Italy


This article examines practices and ideologies which underlie the care and the protection of children in Tanzania. In doing so, it questions the way in which certain categories -such as ‘childhood’ and ‘abuse’- are defined from a Western point of view and then exported by NGOs. The humanitarian discourse claim to cast models, values and "universal" rights on an international scale. This entails that the circumstances related to them can be misunderstood and it promotes an unsophisticated way to approach problematic issues -such as child abuse and neglect- as well. The article focuses on the activities of an organization that deals with abused and neglected children in Mwanza and on the life stories of two little girls, whom I name Allison and Amina. The paper follows practices and conversations which characterized the take responsibility the child in order to bring out situations in which the social actors are experiencing changes in their environment as well as new types of relationships, on which local ways of life collide with ideologies, values and practice introduced by aid workers and Western organizations.
How to Cite
Sciarrino, N. (2016) “Cry and silence: Stories of child abuse in Mwanza (Tanzania)”, Anuac, 4(2), pp. 189-212. doi: 10.7340/anuac2239-625X-1983.