Given low secondary school completion rates, high rates of youth unemployment, and the importance of relationships in Tanzania, there is a need for nuanced and critical analyses examining the link between social capital, education, and earning for young people. This study drew on theories of social capital from a critical perspective (Bourdieu, 1986, Stanton-Salazar, 1997, 2011) to examine how Tanzanian youth were able, and at times unable, to draw on and utilize their social capital to succeed in education and earning, particularly when faced with gender, economic, and social class inequalities. Drawing on longitudinal survey and interview data over four years from youth attending two boarding secondary schools implementing a youth entrepreneurship training program in Tanzania, this study examined how youth drew on peers and adults, at school and at home, to further their learning and earning goals. Findings showed that, while positive adult relationships furthered earning and learning outcomes, relationships with peers were particularly important for youth, in contrast to other studies focusing solely on youths’ relationships with adults (see, for example, Bajaj, 2009; Stanton-Salazar & Dornbusch, 1995). Females and orphans drew on peer support to supplement a lack of adult support for learning and earning, particularly when faced with challenges such as gender discrimination at home or in the workplace. In addition, older youth (ages 17-20) and youth who financially contributed to their households reported drawing on peers, especially when they lacked adult support for education. Non-orphans, younger youth (ages 11-16), and youth financially responsible for others drew on increased peer support at home over time, particularly to supplement a lack of adult support for earning. Male youth also drew on increased peer support at school for learning, and increased peer support at school and at home for earning. When faced with inequalities in school and the labor market, such as high costs associated with schooling, gender discrimination, unequal land rights, and sexual exploitation while earning, youth drew on peer support to supplement a lack of adult support for education and earning. These findings identify new possibilities for social capital research and have important implications for education and youth livelihood programming as arenas to build social capital for youth from marginalized backgrounds.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2016. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Joan DeJaeghere, David Chapman. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 153 pages.
Pellowski Wiger, Nancy.
Social Capital, Education, and Earning: The Important Role of Peer Relationships for Marginalized Tanzanian Youth.
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