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Goucher College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression

Abstract

Objective: To understand the meaning and process of dipo rites and the correlation (if any) to the reproductive health of women in Manya-Krobo. This led to the research being aimed at answering three major questions.

  1. What are dipo rites? This is taking into consideration the history of the rites, meaning of the rites, the process of the rites, and who practices the rites.
  2. What is the status of women’s reproductive health in Manya-Krobo?
  3. How are the dipo rites and the reproductive health of the women who practice them interconnected?

Methodology: I lived in Manya Krobo for most of April, 2013 studying the dipo rites from the Krobo men and women. The research is largely interview based and built on collecting the experiences and opinions of men and women spoken to. A span of age and gender is taken into consideration as well as a varying amount of experience with the rites. To gain participation experience the traditional dipo dance was taught to me as well as some songs. Additionally I visited women’s clinics and youth centers as well as interviewed the founders to gain an on-site opinion on the status of women’s reproductive health. To supplement this knowledge, texts on dipo and reports on women’s health concerning the Krobo provided valuable secondary source information. Together these research elements illuminated the lives of the Krobo women and through them demonstrated the meaning of dipo and the relationship to reproductive health

Findings: The dipo rites remain a pivotal aspect of Krobo women’s identities. The rites are empowering and teach lessons that develop self-respect within young women. The dipo rites expose that Krobo tradition is inherently female empowering. Today HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy are the major issues young Krobo women are facing when it comes to their health. Poverty is a substantial problem in the area due to decline in the economy of the area because of land loss and lack of education. Some believe that dipo is causation for these problems; others feel it can prevent them. Today education and dipo are collaborating on supporting the young women of Manya-Krobo and their health.

Conclusions: While there is argument suggesting that dipo is detrimental to women’s health, it is apparent that poverty is what has caused much of the struggles women face in Manya Krobo. Dipo, in fact, through the self respect and lessons on protecting oneself, is in the best interest of young women’s reproductive health and should be embraced as an old tool in combating many of today’s challenges concerning reproductive health.

Disciplines

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Maternal and Child Health | Women's Health

 

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