Harmahodhaa A Traditional Child Fostering and Fictive Kinship Formation among the Oromo, Ethiopia

Main Article Content

Abebayehu Tsegaye Aredo
Dejene Gemechu Chala

Abstract

Harmahodhaais one of the cultural practices of adoption and fictive kinship formationwith its unique featuresthathave not been captured intheliterature on the Oromo.Thefocus of this study was onharmahodhaa(literally, breast-sucking) that is a culturalpractice among the people of Oromo in Ethiopia.For this study, qualitative data weredrawn from Gaasaraa District, Bale Zone of the National Regional State of Oromiathrough interviews, focus group discussion and case study. Qualitative content analysisand thematic analysis were used in analyzing the data. The findings of this studyrevealed that harmahodhaa establishes culturally defined voluntary parent-childrelations. By extension, it also establishes fictive kinship ties between the families on theadopted and adoptive sides. It entitles an adoptee a privilege of biological offspring inthe new family. Inharmahodhaa, the demand for adoption comes from the biological parents or caretaker of the child or the adopted person if adult, rather than the adoptiveparents. The factors behind establishing harmahodhaa are both instrumental andemotional. Itisarranged to find honest parents for a child merely from altruisticperspective. It is also instrumentally designed for some economic, political and socialinterests. Despite its usefulness in caring for the needy, the practice is gradually declining. Finally, the study recommends that this cultural practice be recognized bypolicy-makers in the country for the indigenization of social security system in the face ofever exacerbating child related social crisis.

Article Details

How to Cite
Tsegaye , A., & Gemechu , D. (2019). Harmahodhaa. The Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences and Language Studies (EJSSLS), 6(2), 27-47. Retrieved from http://journals.ju.edu.et/index.php/ejssls/article/view/624
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Articles
Author Biographies

Abebayehu Tsegaye Aredo, Department of Social Anthropology, Jimma University, Ethiopia

Corresponding author.
Assoc. Prof.; Department of Social Anthropology, Jimma University, Ethiopia
Email: sachekebo@gmail.com.

Dejene Gemechu Chala, Department of Social Anthropology, Jimma University, Ethiopia

Corresponding author.
Assoc. Prof.; Department of Social Anthropology, Jimma University, Ethiopia
Email: sachekebo@gmail.com.