International Research and Theory in Human Ecology

Vol. 18, No. 1
ISSN: 1546-2676

Guest Editor:
Elizabeth B. Goldsmith

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Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM, Vol. 18, No. 1. 
1546-2676. Editor: Dorothy I. Mitstifer. Official publication of Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society. Member, Association of College Honor Societies. Copyright © 2009. Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM is a refereed, semi-annual publication serving the profession of family and consumer sciences. The opinions expressed by the authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the society. Further information: Kappa Omicron Nu, PO Box 798, Okemos, MI 48805-0798. Telephone: (727) 940-2658 ext. 2003

Interested in submitting an article to KON FORUM? Papers are now being accepted for review.


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Kappa Omicron Nu


Foreword: Elizabeth B. Goldsmith, Guest Editor

This special Issue of Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM provides a forum for the discussion of international research and theory in human ecology to promote dialogue and enable links to be established for the overall goal of improving the quality of everyday life and standards of living worldwide. The articles describe successful projects and international collaborations and what is happening in families and communities around the globe. We are pleased there are articles on several countries including cooperative, cross-cultural studies.

Each author was asked to provide an overview of the environment and location to facilitate understanding of the issues and the research. One of the benefits of having an e-issue is that photographs of authors and settings are included to help visualize the projects and participants.

The collection of articles will provide educators, researchers, theorists, policy makers, and citizens with a rich understanding of global issues. The articles conclude with implications for future directions and an explanation of how findings reported can be helpful to other nations. How can we embrace our differences and learn from each other? Hopefully, this issue provides answers and avenues for future research.

The authors were asked to provide solutions and not merely present problems or issues. The following are brief overviews of each article.

The paper,“ An Emerging Partnership for Addressing Chronic Conditions in the Ukerewe District, Tanzania,” by Sharon Y. Nickols, Jeffrey Mullen, and Lioba Moshi describes a collaborative international program focusing on leadership, economic development, health, and sustainability using an the ecosystems framework of human sciences as a theoretical context. It is an outcome of the partnership between University of Georgia’s African Studies Institute and Tanzanian scholars. Lead author Dr. Nickols was a Fulbright Scholar to Malawi, Africa, and is the Janette M. Barber Distinguished Professor in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia. Drs. Mullen and Moshi are also professors at the University of Georgia.

Douglas Abbott’s paper entitled “Mate Selection of Young Muslim Women in the United Arab Emirates” takes us to another part of the world. His qualitative study compares the mate selection process of young Arab women with their mothers. His results indicated major changes over time. Younger women were more likely to marry at an older age, have fewer children, and have greater mate selection choices. The United Arab Emirates is in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Dr. Abbott is professor of child, youth & family studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Canadian Sue McGregor is the author of the philosophical piece, “International Conceptualizations of a 21 st Century Vision for the Profession.” She shares five vignettes that present literary scenes of how home economics thinkers from Europe, Asia, the United States, Canada, and Australia envision the future of the home economics profession. Her goal was to stimulate thought, global collaboration, and to provide a better understanding of world context. Dr. McGregor is associate dean and professor of education at Mount Saint Vincent University.

The team of Julia R. Miller and Gwendolyn M. Taylor of the United States provided two articles for this special edition. The first article is about female youth, migration to cities, and employment in Kayayei, Ghana. The second article entitled “Beyond Repayment: Micro-Credit Lending A Viable Capacity-Building Strategy among Ghanaian Women” focuses on how small loans can help poor women in a developing country. The loans provide opportunity and empower women. Dr. Miller is professor in the Department of Family and Child Ecology and former dean of the College of Human Ecology at Michigan State University. Dr. Taylor is a career planning and placement specialist in the Ingham County ISD, Mason, MI, and a technical advisor to Ghana.

The Caribbean is represented in the article entitled “Human Ecology Issues in a Booming Economy: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago” by Carlisle Pemberton and Elizabeth B. Goldsmith. We describe how rapid economic growth impacted families and consumers in Trinidad and Tobago and explained the role of human ecology as a field of study and research within this context. Challenges include education, sustainability, and maintaining traditional culture amidst the forces of globalization. Dr. Pemberton is professor and department chairperson at the University of the West Indies and had Fulbrights to the University of Georgia and Florida State University. Dr. Goldsmith is professor at Florida State University and an external examiner for the University of the West Indies and a Fulbright Scholar there.

An issue such as this relies heavily on the excellence of the reviewers. The following are thanked for serving as reviewers: Tahira Hira of Iowa State University; Jing Xiao of the University of Rhode Island; Jan Pierson, Fulbright Scholar in Moldova in 2001 and retired from James Madison University; Pauline Sullivan of Florida State University and the Texas State Univeristy, San Marcos; Diana Sindicich of Kansas State University; Marsha Rehm of Florida State University; Suk-Kyung of Michigan State University; and Young-A Lee of Iowa State University.




Table of Contents

An Emerging Partnership for Addressing Chronic Conditions in the Ukerewe District, Tanzania

Sharon Y. Nickols, Jeffrey D. Mullen, Lioba Moshi, University of Georgia

Abstract: A collaborative international program focusing on leadership, economic development for women, education and personal goals for girls, maternal and infant health, and a sustainable natural environment is the focus of this article. The partners are residents of the Ukerewe District of Tanzania and University of Georgia (UGA) students and faculty. The impetus for the program is the visionary leadership of the Honorable Gertrude Mongella and the study abroad experience of UGA’s African Studies Institute. Demographic and economic data on Tanzania are indicators of the need for a human capital approach to development. Various development strategies provide a theoretical and historical context for developing program goals and focus. The authors summarize our assessment of local initiatives and the potential for collaboration. A service learning program is being designed to engage Tanzanian partners with students and faculty from a variety of disciplines.

Mate Selection of Young Muslim Women in the United Arab Emirates

Douglas A. Abbott, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Abstract: The purpose of this project was to conduct a qualitative study of the mate selection process of young Arab women, as compared to their mothers, in a modern Islamic country. Fifty-eight students at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates were interviewed and surveyed in a variety of settings over a period of six months. Results indicated that in one generation, from mothers to daughters, major changes were occurring in the process of mate selection and marriage. The young women, as compared to their mothers, would be older at marriage, have greater mate selection choices, would likely have fewer children than their mothers, but still subject, like their mothers, to restrictions in employment and to the possibility of polygamy.

International Conceptualizations of a 21st Century Vision for the Profession

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University

Abstract: One hundred years after our inception as a profession, it is time to learn all over again how to regenerate and how to ensure our vitality, sustainability, relevancy, and potentiality as a powerful social force. In the spirit of the theme of this international issue, this paper shares five vignettes that present literary scenes of how home economics thinkers in particular regions of the world are envisioning the future of the home economics profession: Europe, Asia, United States, Canada, and Australia. The paper provides growing evidence of international scholarship around the philosophical underpinnings for the 21st century.

BEYOND REPAYMENT: Micro-Credit Lending. A Viable Capacity-Building Strategy among Ghanaian Women

Gwendolyn M. Taylor, Ingham Intermediate School District, Mason, Michigan
Julia R. Miller, Michigan State University, East Lansing

Introduction: This narrative shares the emerging work of a young initiative that targets poor women in the developing country of Ghana, West Africa: the International Women’s MicroCredit Loan Development Program (IWMC) of the Zonta Club of Lansing (Michigan).

An Alternative to Street Vending: Promoting Economic Development through Health, Education
and Skill Training for Ghana’s Kayayei

Julia R. Miller, Michigan State University, East Lansing

Abstract: This article discusses some of the challenges faced by Africa as a developing country, particularly Ghana and the Capital City of Accra, and explains poverty in the lives of female adolescents who migrate from rural to urban areas in search of employment. Furthermore, strategies for poverty reduction will address issues related to improving the lives of young female adolescents, known as kayayei, who work in the informal sector. Responses of these young females relate to their engagement in a Danish-funded program designed to make a difference in their lives as they work in the markets of Accra, survive and thrive on a daily basis, and hold on to their dreams and future aspirations.

Human Ecology Issues in a Booming Economy: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago

Elizabeth Goldsmith, Florida State University
Carlisle Pemberton, University of the West Indies

Abstract: This article provides insight into the impact that rapid economic growth has on families and consumers in Trinidad and Tobago and explains the role of human ecology as a field of study and research. It also highlights the value of international exchange and collaboration. Challenges in a booming economy include education in transition and sustainability of the traditional culture amidst the forces of globalization. The article begins with an overview of the country to provide context for the discussion of issues and concludes with implications for future research studies.




Last Word

Dorothy I. Mitstifer
Kappa Omicron Nu

This issue is timely, given that the problems of food, energy, and finance have led to the current state of the world. Global dialogue to address systemic problems is necessary, and this issue of Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM in its own way contributes to the conversation.

The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) in July 2008 discussed the global economy, rising food and energy prices, adaptation to climate change, and the need for a renaissance in agriculture and rural development. Although these topics arose from widespread poverty, growing inequity, and unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, it is clear that developing countries cannot achieve sustainable development by national development strategies alone. ECOSOC called for an integrated approach to achieve sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals, which are essential for both developed and developing countries. Certainly it is in the interest of human sciences professionals to be engaged. We have the ethical responsibility, individually and professionally, to use our competencies to ensure a better future.

We acknowledge that the projects and research described in this publication are just the “tip of the iceberg.” We invite others to share their work and help the rest of us build upon and improve our international efforts. It is our hope to expand this publication; see for the Call for Papers. Join us in highlighting the work of our profession.

Kappa Omicron Nu was involved in the Global Summit for Social Responsibility sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives. The “Global Principles for Social Responsibility for Associations and Nonprofits,” an outcome of the Summit, focus on responsible advocacy, environmental and economic sustainability, public protection (ethics, self-regulation, human rights), diversity, philanthropy/community service, and leadership. The Kappa Omicron Nu Board of Directors adopted these principles on January 19, 2009. We invite your commitment.