1.1 Introduction

Both national laws in East Africa and international agreements define a child as anyone up to 18 years of age. They recognise childhood as a period of nurturing, care, play and learning in the family, school and community. However, every society and culture also has its own understanding of childhood and who it considers to be a child. This session will examine how children and childhood are understood in East Africa, the factors that influence how childhood is defined and some of the key characteristics of childhood. It will help you explore your own attitudes and values in relation to children and look at how those attitudes differ towards different groups of children. As a health practitioner it is important to understand and re-evaluate how your own views on children and childhood influence your day-to-day practice.

1 Understanding childhood

1.2 Learning outcomes