Work and leisure in modern Nandi: preliminary results of a study of time allocation
Oboler, Regina Smith
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This paper reports the preliminary results of a study of time allocation conducted among the members of eleven typical rural households in Nandi District. The study used the method of random visits pioneered by Barker and Wright and recently popularized in social anthropological research by Allen Johnson. Numerical data on amounts of time spent in various work and leisure activities by people of different age and sex categories. The following conclusions emerge from analysis of this data: Nandis work relatively short hours in agriculture as compared with many other Kenyan and African peoples, but longer work hours would probably to substantially increase productivity; women and men work approximately equal hours in cultivation and probably always did—unlike the case of "ideal type" pastoralists in which women are much more responsible for cultivation than are men; when the care of cattle is taken into consideration as a part of basic agricultural production, adult women and men still work approximately equal hours; women's total work occupies substantially more hours than does that of men, but most of this difference is accounted for by housework; the work of children in the rural Nandi economic system is extremely important and can hardly be over-rated at most ages children of both sexes spend more hours involved in work activities than do adult men; adult women are very minimally involved in childcare, which is primarily the work of girls , particularly those between the ages of 7 and 9; the work of boys is mainly cattle care; most younger adults of both sexes are involved in cash-gaining activities—men spend substantially more time in such activities than do women; older married women, but not men, also frequently do work for cash, primarily brewing; women's participation in community activities, such as Harambee projects, is extremely limited, unlike many other areas of Kenya. Typical division of labour in the traditional past is described, and there is discussion of the changes which appear to have taken place. The paper also describes the community in which the research was conducted, including its basic socio-economic characteristics as revealed by a random sample household census.