chapter  9
Child Caretakers Among Ef e Foragers of the Ituri Forest
ByPaula Ivey Henry, Gilda A. Morelli, Edward Z. Tronick
Pages 23

This chapter examines the distribution of care of one-year-old infants by Efe children in relation to theoretical predictions suggested by evolutionary ecological theory. The Efe foragers of the Ituri Forest of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo exhibit one of the more extreme examples of shared infant care reported in traditional cultures. The Efe are a subgroup of Mbuti peoples who live in the northeastern region of the Ituri Forest of Democratic Republic of the Congo. Care of infants by Efe children was similar for girls and boys on most of the measures looked at in this study, but it was related in modest ways to child age and relatedness to infant. The contribution of children to infant care is also associated with maternal economic efforts. The involvement of Efe children as potential or actual caregivers lends partial support for hypotheses of the relation of child age and gender to the care of one-year-olds.