Africa

African girls tell housekeeping tales

Tow girls in a kitchen performing chores Image copyright AFP/GETTY
Image caption Maasai girls performing daily chores in a village near Narok, Kenya

Young girls helping with cooking, cleaning and babysitting at home may seem normal to some parents.

In fact, in some cultures, this is considered an informal training, equipping girls with essential housekeeping skills parents think they may need in future.

But the UN children's agency, Unicef, says the millions of hours girls spend on chores in many countries around the world are denying them their childhood joy.

As a result, they miss out on important opportunities to learn and grow, the agency says.

Girls spend 40% more time on chores than boys, UN report finds

BBC News explores the kinds of domestic chores girls in Africa are engaged in, and whether they would rather spend the time doing something else.

Image copyright AFP/GETTY
Image caption A 13-year-old girl does chores at her grandmother's house in Ndiwa, Kenya

Sandra Adjeiwaa, 13 - Accra, Ghana

Sandra spends her days selling sachets of water in Ghana's capital instead of going to school.

"I wake up at 1am to do my chores and leave home around 6am for work," she says.

"When I get up, I wash my bowls, sweep the compound, after that, I take my bath and to go work."

On Sundays, she says she washes her younger siblings' clothes before cleaning the home.

Treza Manda, 19 - Golezera village, Malawi

"I started helping around the house when I was eight years old," says Treza.

"There are some chores, which I am specifically tasked to do. Others, I just feel like I have to do them as part of my responsibility in the house.

"I mop the house, do the dishes and cook food for the family. I sweep around the yard and occasionally, I have to do laundry for my siblings.

"Sometimes, I arrive late for classes and get sent back home."

Treza has two sisters and a brother who she says hardly helps with chores.

"Most of the time he doesn't. He says because he is a boy he cannot do household chores.

"They [parents] support it. They say there is no way my brother can be cleaning dishes when the girls are around.

"I wish boys and girls could do the chores together. There is no work that was designed specifically for girls or boys, we can all sweep, mop, work in the fields."

Rachael Abeka, 15 - Accra, Ghana

Image copyright Maxim Mensah
Image caption One of the main tasks for Rachael is cleansing the big metal pots used for boiling local maize meal, kenkey

"When I wake up in the morning, I sweep the compound and fetch water," says Rachael.

"We sell food so I clean the pots used for the cooking before I go to school.

"I wake up at 4am to do the morning chores. After school, I sometimes fetch water again and then do my homework."

Susan Sambani, 15 - Nkhata Bay, Malawi

"Every morning I sweep the yard, cook, wash plates, mop the house and fetch water from the well," Susan says.

"I am usually late for classes and as a result, teachers give me punishments and sometimes, they even send me back home."

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