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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives of Children’s Development in Slums of Kenya: Considering Culture, Poverty, and Community

Hillary Fouts, Associate ProfessorCollege of Education, Health and Human Sciences - Department of Child and Family Studies

The deleterious impact of poverty on children’s development is well known. Although there is extensive child development research exemplifying this impact, questions remain of how social and cultural aspects of children's lives may influence the impact of poverty. Informal settlements (a.k.a., slums) in Kenya provide a unique context to examine how culture may modify the effects of poverty on child development, as there is tremendous cultural diversity within individual slum communities. Such diversity provides the opportunity to study cultural and individual variation in children’s experiences within one environment. This presentation will highlight a new interdisciplinary and international collaborative involving UT faculty members: Paul Erwin (professor and head of the Department of Public Health), Carin Neitzel (assistant professor of Child and Family Studies), Denise Bates (lecturer in Public Health), and Dawn Coe (assistant professor of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies), Kenyatta University (in Kenya), and a Kenyan NGO (Orphan and Vulnerable Children’s Project of Africa). The collaborative is focused on understanding children’s health and development in informal settlements of Kenya.​

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