Christina Makungu

Vulnerability aad risk exposure of school children to Malaria in Tanzania


Christina Makungu joined the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience as a Masters student in September 2009 to investigate the vulnerability ad risk exposure of school children to Malaria when parents are away from home farming in the Kilombero valley in southern Tanzania. Christina graduated in social science from the University of Dar es Salaam and previously worked at the Ifakara Health Institute as a research assistant.


Little or no research had been carried out before on children’s experience of taking care of themselves in rural sub Saharan Africa due to the livelihood demands on parents. The prevailing pattern of seasonal movement of parents (accompanies by pre-school children) from village centre to distant field site for farming activities results in school children (aged between 7 and 16) being left alone in villages for several months in order to attend school. In southern Tanzania, the focus of her research, settlement patterns, ‘villagisation’ programmes and land degradation mean that farms are often located at considerable distances from village centers.

Using qualitative research methods, Christina explored the effects of self care among school children while their partners are away, particularly focusing on aspects of health and well being, food security and how these were inter-related. The specific objectives of the research were to establish roles and responsibilities if school children in self care, in both girls and boys, and to understand the health and social effects of self care in children. This helped to identify coping mechanisms for food insecurity for these children and to determine the community wide perception of self care in school children.

Christina with schoolchildren in Tanzania

Schoolchildren in Tanzania
Mosquito net over bed