Academic Reports

Effectiveness of IEC interventions in reducing HIV/AIDS related stigma among high school adolescents in Hawassa, Southern Ethiopia, 2008

Misconceptions on HIV transmission and prevention, stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes were prevalent among the adolescents. Remarkable reduction in HIV related misconceptions, stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes were observed. Hence, campaigns using combined IEC interventions on HIV/AIDS need to be intensified to dispel some of the prevailing misconceptions and associated stigma and discrimination among school adolescents.

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Epilepsy-associated stigma in sub-Saharan Africa: The social landscape of a disease, 2005

Many studies in developed regions of the world have confirmed that stigma contributes substantially to the psychological and social burden of epilepsy. Relatively few studies of epilepsy-associated stigma have been conducted in Africa, where much of the world’s burden of epilepsy exists. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), particularly in rural regions, close family ties, communal living situations, and traditional belief systems undoubtedly influence the expression of stigmatization. A review of the epidemiologic, anthropologic, and sociologic studies of epilepsy in SSA provides significant insights into how people with epilepsy (PWE) are per- ceived by their communities and families and how these perceptions translate into limited social and economic opportunities and possibly worsen the physical vulnerability of PWE in this region. The medical community is not exempt from the social process of stigmatization, and poor public health infrastructure and medical services undoubtedly contribute to the cycle of epilepsy-asso- ciated stigma through wide treatment gaps, poor seizure control, and high rates of seizure-related injury. In this review, we extrapolate data from existing studies of epilepsy in SSA coupled with our own experience providing epilepsy care in the region to give an overview of the social landscape of this common, devastating condition.

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The Extent and Nature of Witchcraft-Based Violence against Children, Women and the Elderly in Malawi, April 27 2012

Many people observe that witchcraft is widely practiced in Malawi and that suspected witches are subjected to acts of violence. However, no systematic research study has been conducted to determine the extent and nature of witchcraft-based violence against children, women, and the elderly who are the most vulnerable groups. Previous reports have often been based on hearsay, and there has been no systematic analysis of the reports. The overall aim of the study was to find out the extent of witchcraft-based violence toward women, the elderly and children so that remedial measures could be prescribed.

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Women as Easy Scapegoats : Witchcraft Accusations and Women as Targets in Tea Plantations of India, Nov 7 2012

This article revisits a much-debated question: Why are women popular targets during witch hunts? By using in-depth interviews this article provides an answer.Women are easy targets or scapegoats for two reasons. First, it is widely believed in the community that was studied that witches do, in fact, exist, and the images of witches are always female. Second, tribal women hold lower positions than men in all social, political, and ritual matters, and this contributes to their vulnerability during the hunt for scapegoats. This article also highlights the roles that rumors play during manipulation of witchcraft accusations to gather support for witch hunts.

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Strategic Framing Works(s): How Microcredit Loans Facilitate Anti-witch-hunt Movements, Feb 17 2012

This article shows how a social movement organization focused on microcredit loans is able to mobilize a community against its own cultural practice of witch-hunts. Successful mobil- ization against witch-hunts are possible when two conditions are met: first, when activists are able to tap into microcredit groups’ social capacity for collective mobilization (defined by ties of mutual dependence, reciprocity, and friendship); and second, when activists are able to use strategic framing to present a coherent argument about the congruence of microcredit and anti-witch-hunt goals. In this context a master frame (women’s development) emerged that effectively forged the seemingly disparate goals of microcredit loans and anti-witch-hunt campaigns into one synthetic movement. In contrast, successful mobilization against witch-hunts was difficult in areas where the activists did not have access to the microcredit networks or were not able to strategically frame the campaign.

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An Anthropological Study of Witchcraft-related Crime in the Eastern Cape and its implications for Law Enforcement Policy and Practice, Jan 2009

This research sought to investigate the phenomenon of witchcraft-related crime in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, and its implications for law enforcement policy and practice. The primary motivation for a study such as this emerged from the need to address the lack of academic knowledge about witchcraft-related crime, especially in the Eastern Cape. The study is anthropological in focus, and is thus based on anthropological techniques of data gathering.

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Witch-hunts in South Africa – Advocacy against Human Rights Abuses Committed as a Result of Accusations of Witchcraft and Violent Witch-hunts, 2014

The vast majority of victims of accusation of witchcraft, both deceased and still living, in South Africa have been and are being denied their legal right to all of these constitutional rights. Accusations of witchcraft are not condoned under the constitutional rights to freedom of religion, belief and opinion, or expression, as incitement to propaganda for war; incitement of imminent violence; or advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, that constitutes incitement to cause harm, is not protected under South African law. Accusations of witchcraft and resulting witch-hunts constitute a series of clearly identified crimes under both international and national law.

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Tanzania: Illness and Death Experiences in North-Western Tanzania: an Investigation of Discources, Practices, Beliefs and Social Outcomes, Especially Related to Witchcraft, Used in Critical Contextualisation and Education Process with Pentecostal Ministers

This research (1) by Steven Rasmussen for his PHD secured detailed information on discourses and practices during selected episodes involving illness and/or death in Northwestern Tanzania with particular attention to the beliefs involved, and to the social outcomes of these practices and (2) used this material as the basis for a carefully documented critical contextualization and education process in which ministers inductively grappled with the theological and pastoral issues which these cases represent.

Please click here ILLNESS AND DEATH EXPERIENCES IN NORTHWESTERN TANZANIA