Chinese Civil Society-ENGOS

There’s no doubt that ENGOs located in China face serious restraints relative to those elsewhere. To say China’s authoritarian state is suspicious of civil society would be an understatement. Even registering  an ENGO in China requires government approval. Because of the governmental approval necessary to even register an organization, many ENGOs operate underground. Some estimates assess that nearly 90% of Chinese civil groups are underground. This proposes a new set of barriers and challenges to success. Unofficial or unregistered ENGOs do not receive the same financial benefits such as tax breaks or owning a bank account under there name. The lack of financial recognition, in turn, makes receiving donations more complicated, and makes hosting fundraisers or events more expensive. Similarly, one can imagine the difficulties in rallying support if the organization in question must hide from the government.


That being said, there are a number of ways that ENGOs operating in China can remain effective, regardless of their official status:


Journalism: Investigative journalism has long played a major role in Chinese environmental activism, and is very popular among ENGOs located here. Many of China’s current leading environmental activists began their careers through serious journalism. Some examples include petitioning and using consumer surveys. Petitioning to higher authorities has always been a popular method as well, likely due to China’s Confucian system. Consumer and citizen survey research has recently been used as a tactic to share and circulate more information, combining information politics with journalism. 


Naming and Shaming: Naming and Shaming is an old and trusted method for all ENGOs. Undercover investigations and international lab analyses offer Chinese ENGOs a solid footing to launch a naming and shaming campaign. These campaigns can be used against the government or multinational corporations.


Celebrity and CEO Activism: CEOs and celebrities are often attached to important charities or fundraising events used to gather and rally support around a cause.


Transparency Politics: Offering ordinary citizens have independent and non-governmental sources of information, they can make clearer and concise decisions. Similarly, they may feel more empowered to pressure the government/corporations to change behavior. Specifically in China, transparency politics is of the utmost importance to ENGOs. Accessible and honest data doesn’t exist as bountifully in China, due to the authoritarian nature of the state. However, in order to address China’s tragic pollution crisis, the public has to know who and what is poisoning their air and water.


Supply Chain Analysis: Increased access to data offers ENGOs the opportunity to hold corporations accountable. It is important to know where these raw materials are sources, and the environmental records of manufacturers that create consumer products. The path from raw materials to a consumer good is called a supply chain, and it is important to identify errors or flaws in the supply chain, so as to emphasize sustainable growth. Due to a lack or transparency in general, one can imagine how difficult it is to find this information. 


Use of Courts: In recent years, litigation has been a popular method for combatting environmental tragedies in China. In the documentary that we watched in class, we saw the challenges and weaknesses of the Chinese legal system. However, it remains a popular method, as faith in the legal system grows.

Final Paper: “First, she was sleeping around. Second, she was doing anal sex. Third, she was dirty”: Measuring HIV Risk Among Young Women in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

In this paper, I utilize bivariate statistical analysis with a small-N sample to investigate the experiences of 30 young women (aged 15-19 years old) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania,6 and answer the question: What explains variation in HIV-related risk behavior?

final paper

Writing Sample: Food Insecurity in South Africa

Food insecurity in South Africa

Food insecurity in South Africa has been an ongoing issue throughout the 21stcentury.[1]The Food and Agricultural Organization estimated in 2002 that South Africa had the highest prevalence of malnutrition.[2]South Africa is clearly the center of one of the great crises of our time. Food insecurity in South Africa is linked to socio-economic inequalities most prominently.[3]Inadequate food access was indirectly attributed to global financial stress and environmental stress.[4]

Firstly, I will discuss how the 2008 Food Price Crisis impacted South Africa’s food insecurity. Many scholars have asserted that this event had a definitive impact of South African’s access to affordable food.[5]Food prices are rather volatile. Meaning, they are very reactive to economic shocks (natural disasters, energy prices, trade policy, etc.). Due to the financial crisis of 2007-’08, food prices shot upward, dramatically. According to the Oakland Institute, this resulted in “the total number of hungry people to over 1 billion.”[6]At the time, this was approximately 1/6thof the world’s population. South Africa in particular was impacted dramatically by the food prices crisis. Ever since the crisis, food prices have been steadily increasing.[7]However, this increase cannot be attributed to the economy “overheating” due to the fact that South Africa’s GDP growth was -1.5% in 2017.[8]This prolonged increase in food prices caused severe stress and struggle for low income South African households.[9]Lower income households were impacted most because those households usually spent the majority of their funds on food. So, the increase in food prices meant that they would have to buy less food and have the same amount of money saved or for other spending needs, or they would have to buy the same amount of food, but of less nutritious value. The result was a bit of mixed bag. However, both results are examples of food insecurity.

The second cause of food insecurity in South Africa is climate change. More generally, about 17% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, is derived from agriculture.[10]Some studies have shown that “reductions in yield in some countries could be as much as 50% by 2020.”[11]These yield losses could be attributed to sever droughts that the region experienced more recently. Specifically, in 2017 and 2018 South Africa had a serious drought. According to the Ney York Times, Cape Town, South Africa was considering turning off taps in homes until it rained again, after a strenuous three-year drought.[12]On January 14, 2018 the Theewaterskloof Dam, which is the source of about half of Cape Town’s water supply, was at 13 percent capacity.[13]Unfortunately, this means that Cape Town, and surrounding towns, have almost no capacity to produce adequate amounts of food. Water supply has to be concentrated on drinking supplies, rather than agricultural growth. Therefore, fewer crops are being grown, and in turn the price of food increases. In effect, this leaves low income households most vulnerable to food insecurity. The less privileged families who cannot afford to pay exurbanite amounts of money for nutritious food. The result is similar to the last: families either end up with less food or less nutritious food.

Clearly, a new solution should be adapted to combat increasing food prices in South Africa, as well as the ongoing drought that have both left thousands of people hungry and nutrient deprived.

Previous Relief Efforts

In 2010, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations attempted to educate South Africans on nutrition.[1]The organization enlisted the help of teachers, and created a nutrition education program, that was implemented into universities’ curriculum. The organization offered a four-month course that, “mainly uses tutorial teaching method, which emphasizes practice and experience, focusing on students’ active participation by making them the main actors of their own learning process.”[2]The course helped university students understand “nutrition behavior change.”[3]The FAO cited that the feedback was generally positive from students, helping them understand the importance of nutrition in policy creation, and that the course made students feel prepared for intergovernmental work. The FAO called for a scale up in nutrition education in other universities.

I found a few major flaws with the FAO’s nutritional education course. Firstly, it was only offered to university students. However, those most impacted by malnutrition and food insecurity are low income individuals, who cannot afford to attend university. Therefore, the program proved to be directed at the incorrect individuals because those that would benefit most from the courses most do not have access to them. Similarly, I am unsure if nutritional education courses would be best suited to fight food insecurity in South Africa because people cannot benefit from nutritional education courses if they do not have access to nutritious food.

Another previously attempted solution to food insecurity in South Africa was adapted in 2002 by the South African government, and was called the Integrated Food Security Strategy for South Africa (IFSS).[4]The goal of the new program was to “attain universal, physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food by all South Africans at all times.”[5]Its objectives included increasing household food production and trading, improve income generation, provide capacity building, etc.. It mainly focused on a developmental approach.

Since the IFSS was implemented, about 22 percent of the South African population still experienced poor to severe access to food.[6]The IFSS failed in provide adequate food safety nets, providing nutritional education, and the poor use of land.[7]The program determined that the government should direct its attention to the poorer members of society. Overall, if the government were to implement a similar program, it should focus solely on poorer communities, as those are the households most dramatically impacted by food insecurity. Both of these campaigns failed in similar ways: they targeted the wrong individuals and were poorly directed.

[1]“FAO Promotes Healthy Diets Through Nutrition Education Training,” Food and Agriculture Organization, 2010,

[2]“FAO Promotes Healthy Diets Through Nutrition Education Training.”

[3]“FAO Promotes Healthy Diets Through Nutrition Education Training.”

[4]Department: Agriculture, “The Integrated Food Security Strategy for South Africa,” 2002, 383–93.


[6]Prof JF Kirsten and Prof M McClachlan Prof HC Schönfeldt, “Country Policy Analysis Nutrition Impact of Agriculture and Food Systems Thailand,” UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition Country Study for the Second International Conference on Nutrition, no. August (2013),

[7]Prof HC Schönfeldt.

[1]Alison A. Misselhorn, “What Drives Food Insecurity in Southern Africa? A Meta-Analysis of Household Economy Studies,” Global Environmental Change15, no. 1 (2005): 33–43,; Labadarios, June-rose Mchiza, and Patricia Steyn, “Food Security in South Africa- a Review of National Surveys.”

[2]FAO, “Food Insecurity in the World 2000,” 2000, 1–31.

[3]Misselhorn, “What Drives Food Insecurity in Southern Africa? A Meta-Analysis of Household Economy Studies.”


[5]Anuradha Mittal, “The 2008 Food Price Crisis: Rethinking Food Security Policies,” United Nations Discussion Papers, no. 56 (2009): 1–40,; Labadarios, June-rose Mchiza, and Patricia Steyn, “Food Security in South Africa- a Review of National Surveys”; Misselhorn, “What Drives Food Insecurity in Southern Africa? A Meta-Analysis of Household Economy Studies.”

[6]“High Food Price Crisis,” The Oakland Institute, 2018.

[7]Paul Adams and Edward Paice, “The ‘Silent Crisis’ of Food Price Inflation in Africa,” Africa Research Institute, 2017.

[8]Diana Liverman, “Assessing Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Reflections on the Working Group II Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” Global Environmental Change18, no. 1 (2008): 4–7,

[9]Adams and Paice, “The ‘Silent Crisis’ of Food Price Inflation in Africa”; Misselhorn, “What Drives Food Insecurity in Southern Africa? A Meta-Analysis of Household Economy Studies.”

[10]Wolfram Schlenker and David B. Lobell, “Robust Negative Impacts of Climate Change on African Agriculture,” Environmental Research Letters5, no. 1 (2010),

[11]Liverman, “Assessing Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Reflections on the Working Group II Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

[12]Norimitsu Onishi and Somini Sengupta, “Dangerously Low on Water, Cape Town Now Faces Day Zero,” The New York Times, 2018.

[13]Onishi and Sengupta.

Writing Sample: Nonviolent Conflict Resolution

Final Nonviolent Recommendations to Resolve Gang Violence in Honduras

Honduras has been struggling to deal with gang violence for well over 30 years. The conflict began in the 1980s, when large-scale civil war broke out throughout Central America, leading to massive waves of immigration to the United States.[1]The majority of migrants landed and settled in the Los Angeles area. These immigrant youths who felt marginalized soon became invested in gang activity there, and were eventually deported due to a massive crack down on LA gangs in the 1990s. This, in turn, resulted in gangs to be spread to Central America. Today, gangs in Central American act as extremely powerful transnational criminal organizations that actively pose as the region’s most serious threat to peace since their civil wars.[2]Due to the urgency associated with gang violence in this region, now is the time to nonviolently solve the conflict. Previous government crackdowns on criminals have been tried in recent years, and have been proven to be unsuccessful.[3]Clearly, a new nonviolent strategy should be implemented.

First, I believe it is very important to investigate the pillars and roots of the gangs in Honduras. In other words, examine the structures that support them. One of the major supporting factors is drug use in surrounding countries that provides demand for transnational drug trade. Essentially, there’s an economic incentive to being a member of the gangs.[4]The gangs act as drug traffickers, bringing South American produced drugs up the North American continent. Due to raging political and economic instability in Honduras, the country has become host to the chosen drug traffickers for South American drug producers. The country’s prime location coupled with governmental instability made Honduran gangs the perfect fit for South American drug producers looking for traffickers. This gave Honduran gangs more power, and ultimately fueled their violent campaign. 2012 estimates stated that about 90 percent of cocaine headed to the United States, travels through Central America and/or Mexico first.[5]Clearly, drug trafficking is extremely lucrative, and provides an incentive for the members to keep the business running smoothly.

The second major pillar supporting gangs in Honduras is the normalization of violence in Honduran society. Through constant exposure, Hondurans have gone “numb” to violence, and no longer see it as an extraordinary event.[6]The normalization of violence also honors it as well. Often times in Honduran culture, there is a sense of prestige associated with violent acts.[7]Prestige has long been determined as a major contributor to the continuation of war. Gangs, like states, seek honor, prestige, and legitimacy.[8]The gang that can enact the most amount of violence often is seen as the most prestigious, influential, and legitimate. Similar to economic and financial incentives to the continual reinforcement of gang power, the competition for prestige and influence will continually re-institutionalize gang power in Honduras.

Therefore, the strategized nonviolent solution to gang violence in Honduras should be directed at finding alternatives to the lucrative drug trade and the prestige associated with violence. Similarly, it is important to remember that the potential strategy should be focused on long-lasting positive peace, rather than negative peace. Previously, the Honduran government worked to promote negative peace, that did not address the underlying needs of Hondurans.[9]My first proposal is to halt state-sponsored violence that is intended to “crackdown” on gangs. Combatting violence with violence can often inflate the conflict more, or have little impact except for possibly disturbing public life.[10]Instead, the government of Honduras should begin to re-conceptualize these gang members. Similar to the conflict in Colombia, I’d recommend a campaign that attempts to frame gang members as sons, brothers, nephews, etc. This re-conceptualization of gangs could possibly encourage them to return to their roots. Also, the mass campaign would reframe gang members in the public’s eye. Social exclusion and marginalization is a major cause of gang violence, and is often a major contributor to rising gang membership.[11]A mass campaign that emphasizes humanity and empathy for gangs could potentially prevent them from being further marginalized, or provide them with a welcoming community to return to.

[1]Ana Arana, “How Street Gangs Took Central America,” Foreign Policy, 2005.


[3]Gutierrez Rivera, “Security Policies from a Spatial Perspective: The Case of Honduras.”

[4]Ana-Constantina Kolb, “OUTGUNNED : THE HONDURAN FIGHT AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL COCAINE TRAFFICKERS AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL COCAINE,” Journal of International Affairs Editorial Board66, no. 1 (2018): 213–23.


[6]Pine, “Violence.”


[8]Youngho Kim, “Does Prestige Matter in International Politics?,” Journal of International and Area Studies11, no. 1 (2018): 39–55.

[9]Barbara Wien, “Major Concepts in the Field of Peace Research” (School of International Service, 2018).

[10]Gutierrez Rivera, “Security Policies from a Spatial Perspective: The Case of Honduras.”

[11]Jose Miguel Cruz, “Maras and the Politics of Violence in El Salvador,” in Global Gangs: Street Violence across the World, ed. Jennifer Hazen (University of Minnesita, 2014), 123–44,

Methodology I am grappling with

Research question: What explains variation in HIV-related risk among young women in Dar es Salaam?

Gendered variation of HIV infections in sub Saharan Africa (SSA) has puzzled researchers for many years.[1]In most other regions of the world, HIV is isolated to key populations (men who have sex with men, injection drug users, sex workers, etc.). However, in SSA HIV is a generalized epidemic, and therefore is predominantly spread through heterosexual sexual behavior. The assumption is therefore that men and women in SSA have relatively similar HIV prevalence rates. However, this is not the case; instead, young women are extremely more at risk for contracting HIV. Young women’s prevalence rates remain extremely higher than young men’s, and they remain the most vulnerable population in the region. This extreme vulnerability can only be explained by societal norms and behaviors that disadvantage young women. I hope that my work has the potential to speak to gender dynamics that leave young women extremely more at-risk. For this reason, it is my belief that my research interests remain reflexivist in nature. That being said, my research question is formulated in a neopositivist structure because I plan to utilize neopositivist tools to speak to reflexivist ideals.

I felt that it was extremely important for my data analysis to include neopositivist structures due to the nature of my project. HIV is an incredibly sensitive topic due to the stigma surrounding the disease, and therefore I felt it necessary to develop a systematic approach to grouping young women as being at “high risk” for contracting HIV. Similarly, it is my belief that the best approach to determining behavioral trends in the high-risk group was to perform a chi squares analysis. It was a relatively basic analysis, which I plan to discuss further below.

While my data analysis is naturally neopositivist, I also felt extremely difficult to separate myself from the research topic. As a young woman, I viewed my topic from their perspective. The majority of the women interviewed were actually the same age as me, so I felt it extremely difficult to completely separate myself from them. Reflexivists believe that knowledge directs action along pathways, that possibly leads to the overcoming of social or gender hierarchies.[2]. HIV is not an isolated phenomenon; it is impossible to isolate disease from social determinants of health. Reflexivists pride themselves on “identifying the function of a given intellectual articulation and clarifying its relationship to the dominant social order,” and this is exactly what I am attempting to do: identify why women are disproportionately more at risk, and then clarify its relationship to gendered social orders.[3]

Similarly, the data that I am analyzing consists of qualitative interviews, and seeks to “problem solve”. Researchers should learn from their mistakes and decide to re-evaluate and make changes and try again.[4]HIV is a product of and a contributing factor to intensely restrictive gender norms that ultimately leave young women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania extremely at risk compared to men. Reflexive scholars take into account the gendered history of the sexual partnerships in Tanzania; they would problem solve and determine an all-encompassing solution, or display the hierarchies contributing to the societal ill.

[1]Simon Gregson, Heather Waddell, and Stephen Chandiwana,“School Education and HIV Control in Sub-Saharan Africa: From Discord to Harmony?,”Journal of International Development13, no. 4 (2001): 467–485; Shelley Lees et al., “Sexual Risk Behaviour for Women Working in Recreational Venues in Mwanza, Tanzania: Considerations for the Acceptability and Use of Vaginal Microbicide Gels,”Culture, Health and Sexuality11, no. 6 (2009): 581–595; Daniel T Halperin and Helen Epstein, “The Role of Multiple Concurrent Partnerships and Lack of Male Circumcision : Implications for AIDS Prevention,”The Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine, no. March (2007): 19–25; Connie L. Celum et al.,“Rethinking HIV Prevention to Prepare for Oral PrEP Implementation for Young African Women,”Journal of the International AIDS Society18, no. Suppl 3 (2015): 1–10; Rebecca Lewinsohn et al., ““This Baby Came up and Then He Said, ‘I Give up!’: The Interplay between Unintended Pregnancy, Sexual Partnership Dynamics and Social Support and the Impact on Women’s Well-Being in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa,”Midwifery62, no. August 2017 (2018): 29–35.

[2]Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of Science and Its Implications for the Study of World Politics, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2016).



RPP #10: mentor meeting

I met with Dr. Robinson this Tuesday for about 45 minutes to discuss my plan for my final narrative paper and my plans for next semester. I wanted to focus on choosing which methodology to use for my paper. I’ve had significant difficulty, throughout the progression of this semester, grabbing hold of a firm research topic. Obviously, I’ve always planned to stay within the realm of HIV. However, as I attempted to fit my puzzle into each methodology, I felt as if I was moving further and further away from what I was actually passionate about. I discussed this with Dr. Robinson, and we essentially developed a new approach to this using existing data that I had at my disposal.

I have at my disposal 30 in-depth interviews with young women, describing their group behavior in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.[1] Using this data from 30 interviews with young women, I plan to ask the question: what explains variation in HIV risk among this group of women in Dar Es Salaam. I plan to investigate this question through a large-n statistical analysis. I will read through and dissect survey responses from young women in order to determine trends in group behavior.

After the meeting with Dr. Robinson, I was very pleased and reassured that my topic was in place for 306. Looking forward to 306, I will use other similar methodologies that were given to me as a model.[2] I am unsure of which correlation test I will perform thus far. However, a comparison of means is currently most appealing to me. That being said, I am unsure if I will change my mind in the coming days.

[1] Thespina Yamanis, “In-Depth Interviews with Key Informants / Leaders of Groups,” 2018.

[2] K.G. Santhya and Shireen J. Jejeebhoy, “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls: Evidence from Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” Global Public Health 10, no. 2 (2015): 189–221,; AJ Mason-Jones et al., “School-Based Interventions for Preventing HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Pregnancy in Adolescents (Review),” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, no. 11 (2016),; Kaymarlin Govender et al., “HIV Prevention in Adolescents and Young People in Eastern and Southern Africa Region: A Review of Key Challenges Impeding Actions for an Effectiv Response,” The Open AIDS Journal, no. 12 (2018): 53–67.

Research Portfolio Post #8: Qualitative Data Sources for Interpretivist Research

I plan to research the media discourses surrounding the portrayal and characterization of HIV victims to help my reader understand how the media’s definition of the current HIV victim influences who does or does not receive treatment or preventative care. Specifically, I would like to understand how the media discourses may have contributed to the negligence in HIV treatment and prevention methods for women living in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

In previous posts, I discussed how young women in SSA are increasingly more susceptible to HIV infection than any other population in SSA.[1] I discussed several determinants that place young women at risk for HIV. However, I have not discussed how the media discourses may have possibly contributed to the lack of treatment and preventative care for young women in SSA.

I found three separate New York Times articles discussing the development of HIV treatment and the progression of the disease’s outbreak. The first was titled “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals” and was published on July 3, 1981. The second was titled, “20+, HIV+” and was published on April 17, 1994. The third and final article I will discuss was titled “IDS, The Worsening Epidemic” and was published on December 5, 1999.

Each data source re-conceptualizes what researchers have learned about the disease. This means they largely discuss who is being impacted by HIV the most and how it should be treated, or who should be worried about infection. For example, Lawrence Altman’s piece was the first article published about HIV. However, HIV had not yet been named, and was believed to be a rare cancer exclusive to homosexual men.[2]  The author defines the victims of the disease to sexually promiscuous gay men, who experiment with multiple types of drugs.[3] He also offers a tidbit of advice to readers, saying that there was “no apparent danger to nonhomosexuals”.[4] The identity of an HIV victim is clearly defined, and anyone who does not fit this bill should not be worried. Similarly, due to the fact that researchers at the time believed HIV to be cancer, they were unsure how it was spread, and did not think that it spread at all (from person to person), as cancer is not an infectious disease.

The second article published in 1994, titled, “20+, HIV+” emphasizes that HIV’s victims are not just gay men who are sexually promiscuous and experiment with drugs. Instead, HIV’s victims are anyone from “young, bright talents to spoiled shoplifters on government assistance”.[5] Most importantly, he emphasizes that both of those categories of people are equally susceptible to HIV infection. In this piece, HIV’s victims are still defined by America’s borders. The author chooses to focus on the HIV epidemic at home rather than abroad.

My third article was published in 1999 and was titled, “AIDS, The Worsening Epidemic”. This piece was published 5 years after Beachy’s, and essentially explains that the scope of HIV expands well beyond America’s borders. The article emphasizes that wealthy nations may be better off at fighting the HIV epidemic, and should share their wealth to African nations. He argues that “the developed world needs to provide more leadership and resources to attack an epidemic that is overwhelming the world’s poorest societies”.[6] Interestingly, the author shifts their scope to the African continent, instead of focusing domestically,as previous journalists had before him. In this instance, HIV’s victims are “Africans”. The continent was grouped together, not distinguishing region. However, it did emphasize that HIV was killig far more across the Atlantic, than it was at home. This piece was one of several that marked a shift in thinking around HIV infection and treatment.

All three articles mark a transitional thinking towards today’s current thought, that HIV victims largely impact lower income women in SSA. Each text defines a victim drastically differently, and largely impacted who would receive treatment in that climate.


[1] Daniel T Halperin and Helen Epstein, “The Role of Multiple Concurrent Partnerships and Lack of Male Circumcision : Implications for AIDS Prevention,” The Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine, no. MArCH (2007): 19–25.

[2] Lawrence Altman, “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals,” New York Times, n.d.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Stephen Beachy, “20+, HIV+,” New York Times, n.d.

[6] “AIDS, the Worsening Epidemic,” New York Times, n.d.

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Research Portfolio Post #7: Qualitative Data Sources

For my small-n research approach I ask: What explains why women are more likely to contract HIV than other key populations in Tanzania? More specifically, I am exploring social or economic determinants of health that may potentially contribute to an individual’s likelihood for HIV infection. I chose to focus my research in Tanzania because there are currently 1.5 million people living there with HIV.[1] Most importantly, heterosexual sex accounts for the majority (80%) of all HIV infections in Tanzania, and women are particularly more impacted than men.[2] Therefore, I am most interested in determining why women in Tanzania are most at risk for HIV infection compared to women in other regions of the world. Unlike the Atzili reading, my case will not feature the “most likely case” approach.[3] Instead, my cases will be actual young women, who have been interviewed regarding their social and behavioral habits that possibly contribute to their HIV risk.

My dependent variable is new HIV infections. It is operationalized as a dummy variable (yes, she has HIV, or no, she does not have HIV). For this approach, I would likely have to use a new source that would provide me with detailed interviews with young women. This strategy has been used in almost every source that I’ve read on this topic.[4] For example, in an article by Mantsios, she recruited participants and conducted “27 in-depth interviews”.[5] Researchers asked about the participants age, marital status, how many children they had, education, and HIV status. They found that the majority of young women interviewed (80%) had no formal education past primary school and the majority (73%) were also infected with HIV.[6] In other words, they found a strong correlation to lack of education and increased risk for HIV. I believe that this strategy would be very well suited for my research question.

I could possibly continue on this path. However, the large-n work seems to fit my research question quite well. Whether or not I pursue this path would be dependent on my access to data or my ability to conduct interviews either domestically or internationally.

[1] AVERT, “HIV and AIDS in Tanzania.”

[2] Ibid.

[3] Boaz Atzili, “When Good Fences Make Bad Neighbors: Fixed Borders, State Weakness, and International Conflict,” International Security 31, no. 3 (2006): 139–173.

[4] Andrea Mantsios et al., “‘That’s How We Help Each Other’: Community Savings Groups, Economic Empowerment and HIV Risk among Female Sex Workers in Iringa, Tanzania,” PLoS ONE 13, no. 7 (2018): 1–16; Sarah Palazzolo et al., “Documentation Status as a Contextual Determinant of HIV Risk among Transgender Immigrant Latinas. In Press at LGBT Health.,” LGBT Health Epub ahead, no. 15 December 2015 (2016); Thespina J. Yamanis et al., “Social Venues That Protect against and Promote HIV Risk for Young Men in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania,” Social Science and Medicine 71, no. 9 (2010): 1601–1609; Suzanne Maman et al., “Leveraging Strong Social Ties among Young Men in Dar Es Salaam: A Pilot Intervention of Microfinance and Peer Leadership for HIV and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Suzanne,” HHS Public Access 13, no. 11 (2016): 1–2; Thespina Yamanis et al., “Legal Immigration Status Is Associated with Depressive Symptoms among Latina Transgender Women in Washington, DC,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15, no. 6 (2018): 1246,

[5] Mantsios et al., “‘That’s How We Help Each Other’: Community Savings Groups, Economic Empowerment and HIV Risk among Female Sex Workers in Iringa, Tanzania.”

[6] Ibid.

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