Following Population Dynamics and Family Changes in Rural Africa. "Slam", a Longitudinal Study in Mali.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Veronique HERTRICH, Ined, France
Gilles PISON, French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED), France
The Slam (“Suivi longitudinal au Mali”) project has been implemented in the late eighties to follow demographic and family trends in rural Mali, and especially to identify changes and emerging behaviors in a context often considered as static. The study is small-scaled (7 villages, 4300 inhab. in 2009) and based on a specific observation system, including different scales of observation (individual, family and community) and fuelled by approaches, methods and concepts drawn from the fields of population studies, anthropology and sociology. Two main quantitative surveys are conducted extensively (both sexes and all ages) and updated every 5 years: a follow-up survey, matching individual-level data from 9 censuses (1976-2009) and a life event history survey (marriage, fertility, migratory and religious histories). Qualitative materials include genealogical data, individual and group interviews and informal field observation over the long run. The paper will discuss the specific contribution of longitudinal data to approach family dynamics in rural Africa but also the challenges to build a comprehensive observation system and to maintain it over 25 years. Special attention will be given to two critical points: the inclusion of national census data in the local observation system and the necessity of knowledge dissemination as an integral part of the research program.