The Implications of Environmental Degradation for Human Capital: Children's Time Fetching Water and Firewood in Tanzania

Deborah Levison, University of Minnesota
Deborah S. DeGraff, Bowdoin College
Esther W. Dungumaro, University of Dar es Salaam

Cross-sector collaboration is a goal of governments and project funders in low-income countries, yet many connections across sectors remain to be made. We argue that in many poor countries a substantial connection exists between human capital accumulation – via children’s educational success – and environmental degradation. We use a 2011 case study in rural Tanzania to explore whether children’s responsibilities for fetching water and firewood are a link between human capital and environmental conditions. Using quantitative and qualitative data, we explore which children are enrolled in school, and how they differ from those not enrolled; which children participate in collecting water and wood; and are there systematic relationships between these two behaviors? We seek to identify challenges that rural Tanzanian children face to staying in school, and whether the demands to provide water and firewood for their households (or schools) appears to be an important aspect of these dynamics.

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Presented in Session 4: Population and Environment I