From Dating Local Girls

Home / Africa / West Africa / Guinea

Guinea dating guide advises how to meet single girls. You just need to know the basic steps how to date Guinean women. Learn how to arrange dates with hot Guinean girls, how to take your relationship to the next level and how to find your soulmate and fall in love. Read more on how to date local women and where to meet girls in Guinea, Africa.

Girls in Guinea:

  • Looks of girls: 3 / 5
  • Attitude of girls: 3 / 5
  • Loyalty of girls: 3 / 5
  • Education level of girls: 2.5 / 5

Dating in Guinea:

  • Chance of arranging dates: 3.5 / 5
  • Casual dating culture: 3.5 / 5
  • Online dating popularity: 2.5 / 5

Sex in Guinea:

  • Women's sexual activity: 3.5 / 5
  • One-night stands: 3 / 5

More about Guinea:

  • Nightlife in general: 3.5 / 5
  • Locals' English level: 2 / 5
  • Budget per day: US$40 - $500
  • Accommodation: US$15 - $200


Guinea is a country in West Africa. The country is bordered by Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The country also has a 340-kilometer coastline with the Atlantic Ocean. Guinea has a population of 12.4 million and an area of 245,857 square kilometers. Conakry is the capital and the largest city with a population of 1.6 million. The city stretches on an island and into the mainland. French is the official language of the country used in business, education and daily life. In addition to French, local Guineans speak 24 indigenous languages. Guinea is a predominantly Muslim country with 85% of the country while 8% of the population is Christian. Many locals practice indigenous religion alongside the main religions.

Dating Guinean girls is an easy and fun thing. Guinea has some of the most outgoing girls around and who are always ready to have fun and help you enjoy your time in the country. While the country has relatively low literacy levels as compared to other countries in Africa, the girls are naturally intelligent, hardworking and independent-minded and will ensure that your time with them is worth the while, provided that you just learn about the local culture.

Dating Culture

Guinea's population is made up of 24 ethnic groups each one having its own cultures and traditions. Even as these cultures come together in the melting pot that is Guinea, influence also comes from the dominant Islam religion as well as the proliferation of modernism. Whereas most countries with a dominant Muslim presence have a restricted dating culture, Guineans are less conservative in their dating and many young Guineans begin dating as early as 15 years. This is slowly changing as the government is putting in place measures to reduce the spread of AIDS and child marriages. The dating culture is more vibrant in the urban areas than the rural areas.


Women are on average less educated and less financially secure than men. A woman often spends part of her life in a polygamous marriage and has only a 22% likelihood of being literate. She will live on average forty-eight years and have five children, one of whom will die in infancy. In rural areas, women contribute to the household by weeding the fields, planting garden plots, doing the cooking and cleaning, and looking after the children. In urban areas, women constitute a major component of the informal marketing sector.

President Touré recognized the importance of women to cultural, social, and economic production, and instituted programs to promote the education and prosperity of women. Some of Touré's strongest supporters were market women, who, however, successfully led a strike against his marketing reforms in 1972. Touré promoted equal access to education and the enrollment of females in primary, secondary, and professional schools climbed to nearly half in some regions. Although education is free, the schooling of the Guinean population in general and girls, in particular, remains low. The rate of illiteracy of women and girls is very high as well as the dropout rate, due in part to the prevalence of early marriages, pregnancies and domestic trafficking. The rate of schooling of girls in Guinea is 69% in primary education and 20% in secondary education.

Touré was the first post-independence leader in Africa to appoint women to key ministerial positions. During the regime of President Conté, these strides have slowed. Women are much less prominent in government, and the rate of female education has declined significantly. Currently, only about 10% of students at the university level are women.

There is a persistent bias in the social hierarchy toward males, and boys are more likely to be educated and adults are more likely to have a range of economic and employment options. Household heads are almost always men and custom allows them to exercise absolute authority over their wives, sisters, and daughters. These patriarchal structures conceal the power that many women wield on a day-to-day level in family compounds and market stalls, in raising children, earning an income, and allocating household resources.

While the Guinean Constitution provides for equal access to employment, women continue to suffer from professional segregation and many occupy unskilled and low-paid jobs. Women are over-represented in the informal sector that provides no social protection and are under-represented in decision-making positions, including within the National Assembly (19 women MPs out of 114), the diplomatic service and local administration.

Guinean Girls (age 18 - 29)

Over half of all girls in Guinea are married before their 18th birthday and 19% are married before the age of 15. Guinea has one of the highest prevalence rates of child marriage in the world. More than 50% of the Guinean population lives below the poverty line. Within this context, some girls are married off as a perceived survival tactic. While 53 percent of women ages 15 to 24 in urban areas are literate, only 15 percent of those in rural areas can say the same. As families in isolated areas are more likely to keep girls home to help with chores, especially if the school is farther away, getting an education is much more of a challenge for rural Guinean girls.

This age marks the time when girls leave childhood and become women. For many of them, this is the time when their breasts develop into a round succulent form. Their bums also grow bigger and firm as do their hips. These features force the woman to change their walking style as the sensual areas seek attention. To make the buttocks prominent, the young women put on tight trousers and skirts while low cut and tight tops ensure that men do not fail to notice them.

Since one has to choose in order of priority, their spending on clothes is relegated as secondary items as compared to food, accommodation or tuition fee for those depending on themselves. This does not mean that these younger women do not dress well. What they do not have in terms of finances, they make up for by their mode of dressing. The liberal fashion makes them stand out especially when they step out to have a good time in the clubs. This is complemented by the fashion accessories and makeup that they put on. Under their socialization, this group is most informed in terms of the latest trends so they can put together a good look even on a budget.

In Guinea, many young girls start engaging in sex at an early age and so by the time the girls are 18 years, many of them have already engaged in casual sex. With the use of contraceptives in the country significantly low, many young girls end up having children before marriage. These girls more often end up in polygamous marriages as very few men would marry a girl with a baby as a first wife.

Guinean Women (age 30 - 45)

Education has an impact on employment statistics. In the case of Guinea, since many girls do not go beyond secondary school, their percentage in the overall employment of the country is quite low. Between 2000 and 2018 average total labor participation rate was 71.5% overall, 78.3% for men and 64.7% for women.

Unlike their younger counterparts who dress liberally to attract attention, these women dress less conspicuously. Part of the reasons for this is the fact that some of them are already married and so need to dress appropriately as their status dictates. On the other hand, the ones not yet married are restricted by the need to appear mature in their dressing. This, however, is not an absolute rule as many women here dress as liberally as when they were higher. These women are also able to afford better fashion and beauty products and so look pretty.

Many of these women are settled down with their families and spend most of their time at home taking care of her husband and children. Many Guinean families have an extended set up meaning that the woman has more than just her immediate family to take care of. Since many homes practice polygamy, this duty is shared with other women in the homestead.

Guinean Ladies (age 45+)

Guinea has a significant low life expectancy, especially for women. This is due to low levels of poverty in the country which tend to be harder on women than men. This hurts the access of women to healthcare and medicine. This is however improving due to reforms being implemented by the government to improve the welfare of women.

Since most women of this age do not possess the qualifications for formal employment, they end up setting up small businesses to help them supplement their husband’s income. For those who are lucky to be employed, some will have climbed the corporate ladder and may even b occupying high positions at their places of work.

These women are now married with older children in the higher levels of education and some even married with their own families. These women have more time on their hands and so they may join women’s groups that help them grow their businesses.

Foreign Girls (tourists, expats, students, etc.)

A large group of foreign girls in Guinea are tourists. While the country has in the past attracted many tourists due to its natural scenery and physical features, an outbreak of Ebola in 2014 saw a great decline in the numbers as many countries discouraged non-essential travel. The number of arrivals in Guinea was reported at 99,000 in 2017. The number is steadily rising as the pandemic was declared over by the World Health Organization.

The country also hosts businessmen, expatriates and investors from many countries. Many Senegalese merchants, artisans, and tailors live in the country, and they are joined by foreign nationals from other African countries. Some of these are refugees; others come seeking opportunities in Guinea. A substantial number of Europeans and Americans reside in Conakry, most of whom work for embassies and development organizations. Expatriates also live in the mining towns of Fria and Kamsar (bauxite) and Siguiri (gold). An economically influential Lebanese population conducts commerce in the cities. A tiny group of Korean immigrants operates photo development shops in Conakry.


Having sex with Guinean girls is both hard and easy depending on the type of girl one is looking for. Guinean girls are traditionally known to be traditional and many of them strive to preserve their virginity until they get married and so may be unwilling to have sex with someone, not their husband. However, many young Guineans are now opening up and are willing to offer sex to foreigners even if it is for the sake of adventure.

Sex Culture

As mentioned above, the country has a mixed-sex culture. 70% of the population lives in rural areas. Guineans living in rural areas are traditional and so they are conservative in matters of sex. On the other hand, those in the urban areas, especially the young Guineans are easier especially with the rise dating sites and mobile applications that are used to hook up.

One-Night Stands

While in the past many Guineans shunned casual dating and one-night stands, the influence of modernization has seen more people engaging in one-night stands. However, the ones doing this try as much as possible to be discreet.

Best Places to Meet Single Girls

Guinea is called the Switzerland of Africa, with its lofty mountains and high plateaus, plus a temperate climate. The highest peaks are Mount Loura at Mali Ville and Mount Tinka near Dalaba. It is also known as the water tower of Western Africa because many rivers take their origin from it. These rivers and churning rapids, hurtling down the mountains create beautiful waterfalls. With its diverse topography, climate and culture, the Republic of Guinea holds enormous potential and offers visitors the true image of an unspoiled "tourist paradise" river.

Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs

With at least 70% of Guineans living in rural areas, the capital city, Conakry offers some of the best in terms of entertainment:

• MLS: This very chic place is in a league of its own, subtly styled in polished wood, soft fabrics, spotlighting and handmade furniture. And with a great sound system and good resident and visiting DJs to boot it's got to be one of West Africa's classiest clubs. There's also a casino and lounge bar within the same complex.

• Club Obama: Perched on stilts out in the water, this cute thatch-and-wood bar covered in fish skeleton decorations is a great place for a sunset drink. Whether the name will now change to Trump Club remains to be seen.

• Crisber: Brash club filled with teen and twenty-something lip-gloss-sporting girls in tiny skirts and posing guys. There's also a lounge bar in the same complex.

• Le Badala: A chilled-out place from which to watch the sun sink into a murky Atlantic horizon as you nurse a sundowner drink or two.

• L'Echangeur: This humble bar looks completely unspectacular, yet it's where many of Guinea's biggest stars jam at the weekend, in a space overflowing with good vibes and cold beer. Bring a few Guinea francs to 'spray' the musicians in thanks for the praises they'll sing. On weekdays it's just a chilled-out bar.

• Alize Night Club, Conakry

• Kingdom Club, Conakry

• Bembe Kalifu Night Club, Conakry

• Riviera Royal, Kaloum,

• Club Bimbeya, Conakry

• Plaza Lounge, Conakry

• KTV Bar, Conakry

Shopping Malls

Some of the malls in Guinea include:

• Prima Center, Conakry

• Carrefour Plaza Diamond, Conakry

• Cite Chinoise, Conakry

• Centre Likida, Kankan

• Tannerie Marché, Conakry

• Hangar de Commerce de Kadiatou Camara, Nongoa


The Centre d'Art Acrobatique Keita Fodeba is perhaps the single most amazing experience in Guinea. Every weekday morning scores of acrobats spin, twirl and flip through routines that have made them the envy of circuses the world over. As good as the acrobats are, it's the contortionists who steal the show. Launched by the success of the Guinean troupe Circus Baobab, this magical place takes stage performance to a whole new level. The center not only trains some of Africa's greatest acrobats, but it also provides youngsters with a whole range of skills.

Faga Faga Fougou Espace Culturel in Conakry is one of the most exciting live-music venues in Conakry. The ocean-side stage hosts a diverse array of local and West African groups performing anything from rap to world music to Afro-funk. The atmosphere is very chilled and welcoming and there are performances most nights, except Sundays. Entry fees vary depending on who is playing.

The one place in the Parc National du Haut Niger that you are guaranteed to see large mammals is the Centre de Conservation pour Chimpanzés. This is a French-run project in which chimpanzees rescued from the exotic animal pet trade are brought here and, over time, reintroduced to the wild. Don't get too excited about seeing wild chimps though, because visits are strictly controlled and the chimps that visitors get to see live in large enclosures.

Covering some 1200 square kilometers, the Parc National de Haut Niger is one of West Africa's last significant stands of tropical dry forest and one of the most important protected areas in Guinea. The forest, which is pockmarked with areas of tall grassland savanna and run through by the River Niger, has plenty of wildlife including significant numbers of chimpanzees, buffalo, duikers and waterbuck as well as crocodiles and hippos.

The chutes de Kambadaga, around 35km west of Pita, make for a brilliant day out. The waterfalls crash over three separate falls and they're surrounded by jungle where monkeys and a wealth of colorful birds are common. You'll need your wheels. Head first to Bourouwal Tappé, a small village on the main road south of Pita, from where it's a bumpy 17km along a dirt track to the village of Hakkunde Miti. From here put on your hiking boots in preparation for a sweaty, steep 40-minute hike to the waterfalls.

Centre d'Exposition Artisanal de N'zérékoré: This modern and impressive arts and handicraft center allow you to watch craftspeople carving, weaving, hammering and stitching dyed mudcloth, wooden carvings and raffia bags, among other things. If you're lucky you'll also get to catch some traditional dancing. There are a few statues and carvings on display as museum pieces. It's a little tricky to find but it's just off the road north out of town surrounded by forest and close to the carwash area.

Established by a French botanist in 1908 to discover what European and Asian plants would flourish in Guinea, the Jardins Auguste Chevalier offers an enjoyable place to unwind in the shade of huge century-old oaks and forests of bamboo. The gardens are 7km north of Dalaba, just off the Pita road and close to the village of Tinka.

Conakry's dwindling Christian population almost manages to fill the pews of the red and yellow Cathédrale Sainte-Marie each Sunday morning. Construction of the cathedral began in 1928 and the interior contains some rather kitsch paintings of biblical scenes. The entry is normally via the southern side door rather than the main doorway. There are no set opening hours.

The hectic, noisy sprawl of Marché Madina is where you get everything from Chinese homewares to indigo cloth, and sometimes a lost copy of Plato between faded women's magazines at one of the many street booksellers. Keep an eye on your pockets because thieves like this market too.

Universities and Colleges

Some of the universities and colleges found in Guinea include:

• Kofi Annan University of Guinea, Conakry

• Julius N'yéréré University of Kankan, Kankan

• Gamal Abdel Nasser University, Conakry

• Université Utad-Guinée

• Université Mercure Internationale

• Université Général Lansana Conté de Sonfonia, Conakry

• Higher Institute for Distance Education, Conakry

• University of Kankan, Kankan

• Catholic University of West Africa, Conakry

• Amadou Dieng University, Conakry


Casual dating is not common in Guinea. People generally meet a partner with the expectation of marriage in mind. Marriage remains one of the most important events in one’s lifetime, representing the merging of two families when the woman moves into her husband’s home. It also signifies a couple’s maturity and full transition to social adulthood.

Guinean men and women generally have a say on who their prospective partner will be. However, the parents of the bride and groom must approve of each other's' families before marriage. In some cases, the marriage may be arranged by two families that want to get closer. Interfaith marriages between members of different religions are generally rare. However, interethnic marriages are relatively common.

Holiday Romance

A holiday romance is a temporary or casual relationship between two strangers developed realistically in such a short space of time. That said, holidays aren’t a time to play it cool. You might only have a week or less in which to catch their eye, so acting fast is crucial. Try to be braver with making the first contact than you would be at home. This is because chances are high that the two of you are strangers to each other and there is nothing much to lose if your approaches are rebuffed. Holiday romances are also good as many people tend to let loose during this time and so your chances of being turned down are greatly reduced. Coming to a country like Guinea and hooking up with someone is good. This is because the country is less conservative meaning that the two of you will be able to enjoy your romance with fewer inhibitions.

Tips for Successful Relationship

When you refer to you and your partner as “we”, you are subconsciously considering both of you to be a single entity. This simple word enhances bonding and trust in a big way – even if your partner is not physically around. Studies conducted show that couples who used the word “we” tend to be calmer, happier and more satisfied with their relationship when compared to those who use “you” or “I.”

When you start feeling grateful for the things that your partner says and does, your relationship is sure to blossom. Research shows that gratitude reduces feelings of hate and pain as you tend to focus only on the positive side of your partner. Such positive feelings go a long way in maintaining relationships.

Problems start creeping into relationships when one or both get bored with the routine. To invigorate your relationship, explore new places, try new activities together, laugh with each other, do something ridiculous or do just about anything together that makes both of you happy. Such actions create a sense of excitement that you and your partner will look forward to.

Get physical with your partner, such as kissing, holding hands, scratching the back or giving a hug, just to let your partner know that you love and care about them. Studies have shown that such physical affection increases the feel-good hormones, improves mood and releases stress. If you are in a long-distance relationship, call frequently and let the other person know that you are thinking of him or her. Small acts of physical intimacy – the hand on the small of the back as you brush by in the hallway, your arm around their shoulder on the sofa, your hand on their thigh when seated side-by-side, holding hands while walking down the street – give your partner a warm feeling and convey the love and affection you feel for them.

When you and your partner work toward the same cause, you are more likely to focus on each other’s positive side. Set common goals such as saving toward a vacation, your children’s college funds or anything else that is meaningful to both of you. Working harmoniously toward such goals can further strengthen your relationship.

Relationships come with obligations. Be aware of them, and fulfill them to make your partner happy. At the same time, ensure that you’re not sacrificing your private space; you have to be happy, too. If you’re not comfortable with doing some things, talk about it with your partner.

Human beings are social animals, and communication is an innate need. Talk, text and message each other frequently to build a strong relationship. Be a good listener too, when your partner wants to share his or her day with you. In short, strong relationships do not just happen. Rather, you have to build them with love, passion, understanding, tolerance, acceptance and appreciation. Start today to become loving partners for life!

One of the traits of highly successful and enduring relationships is the partners’ ability to stand together in the face of external challenges. A true test of a relationship is whether two people have each other’s’ back when times are tough.


Guinean girls are probably one of the best people you will meet and have the luck of marrying. Their beauty is one of a kind, and it is not just external beauty. It is also one that makes a person feel comfortable and welcomed in their presence. It is a very interesting place, and you will be able to learn a lot from this rich city. It may be a world apart from your hometown, but with an open mind and humble attitude, you will see that their customs are beautiful and that their culture is full of color.

Dating Guinean girls is another feat altogether. It may be a challenge to permeate that outer wall in the beginning, but once you get past that, it becomes an easier thing to do. Make sure to read up on their cultures first, and get advice from men who are active in the international dating scene and who know how to act in front of other ladies who have very disparate cultures. This will help you in breaking the ice and making an initial conversation. It would help if you are observant and understanding of their cultures and traditions. When she finally invites you over to meet her parents, be respectful and mindful of your behavior at all times.

They say that first impressions last, and this is something that you should always abide by. Put your best foot forward and adjust to their little idiosyncrasies, even though you may not understand them at first. At the end of the day, you will be able to celebrate because the Guinean girls may feel the same, and one could fall in love with you as well.

How to Make Sure She Is the One

It's easy to find your partner attractive when you first start dating. Hormones are flying, the relationship is full of novelty, and you've yet to discover your partner's most grating bathroom habits. But this rush of initial attraction will inevitably fade if you don't have enough basic compatibility to keep each other interested — intellectually, emotionally and sexually. Once you've established a baseline physical attraction, personality is what keeps you wanting to remain physically intimate, so if you've found someone who keeps you engaged on every level, that's a sure sign you're on to a keeper.

If you're going to be with your partner for a long duration, you're going to need to be able to endure life's hardships together. Life is not always smooth sailing, and neither are relationships, so being able to weather the down times with a sense of humor is a must. Of course, it's not all doom and gloom, and a sense of humor also makes life's high points even more blissful. Either way, being able to laugh together is crucially important, so if you've found someone who can make you see the lighter side of life, hold on to her.

Life gets pretty boring if you can't occasionally chew the fat until dawn with someone you care about, and who better to do that with than your live-in, long-term partner? If you and your current girlfriend can't sustain a conversation about topics deeper than today's weather for longer than 20 minutes at a time, you probably haven't found your soul mate.

There comes a certain point in a relationship where you need to decide whether you'll introduce your girlfriend to your friends and family. A certain level of the intermingling of your worlds is inevitable even in fairly casual relationships — it's not a huge deal for a partner you're not certain about to have met some of your friends, for example — but meeting family, and in particular your parents, is usually a sign you're looking to take things to the next level.


According to the Guinean Children's Code 2008, the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 years. However, the President of Guinea by request of the Minister of Justice may allow individuals to marry before 18 years for “serious reasons” and with parental consent. Guinea’s Civil Code only recognizes the civil marriage. A civil ceremony must occur before any religious or customary marriage ceremony. However, this requirement is rarely followed, leading to situations where many marriages are not recognized by the state or legally enforceable in court.

Marriage is considered a union of two families, not the choice of two individuals. Family approval and ritual gifts are considered very important in laying a firm marital foundation. The groom typically pays the bridewealth to the family of the bride in some combination of cash, cloth, and livestock.

Marriage customs vary widely by region, ethnicity, and social status. In the Futa Jallon, a marriage may be arranged while the wife is still an infant. The couple does not take up residence together until the wife has reached puberty. It is not unusual for a wedding ceremony to take place in the absence of the groom, especially if he lives in a different region than his betrothed. After the ceremony, the bride is sent to her husband. In urban areas, some couples go to the mayor's office to sign official documents, but most couples do not seek civil recognition of their unions. Divorce is not uncommon, and local custom typically prevails over the civil courts.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Direction of Judicial and Consular Affairs, Consular Division, Foreign Section, performs all marriages of foreigners in Guinea. The MFA is located in downtown Conakry, near the port and the Islamic League.

• A written request addressed to the Ministre à la Présidence Chargé des Affaires Etrangères;

• Two photos of each person (bride and groom);

• A copy of each person’s birth certificate;

• Le Certificat Prénuptial: This certificate is issued by any doctor and states the subject’s physical fitness for marriage.

• If the bride is Guinean, her parents must provide an official consent form that has been stamped by the Commissariat de Police;

• Proof of employment, either in Guinea or abroad;

• Photocopy of the first four pages of your passport and the page with the Guinean visa.


Once many couples finish with the traditional marriage ceremony that is based on their tribes, they have a religious ceremony. More than 85% of the population is Muslim and many weddings are held following Islamic traditions.

A Muslim wedding ceremony is most commonly known by its Arabic term, nikkah. The nikkah typically happens at a mosque, on the morning of the wedding day, before the reception. However, some Muslim couples do away with tradition, by opting to have it at their reception venue, or in the afternoon. Before the nikkah, the bride’s home is full of life, with little cousins, grandmothers and aunties, walking in and out of the bride’s room to try and help her get ready. Sometimes it all gets a bit too much for the bride, and she is left with no choice but to lock her door.

The bride herself has no role to play in her wedding ceremony, as the nikkah is essentially a procedure whereby the groom accepts a proposal from the bride's father, to marry her to him. Because of this, many brides choose not to go to their nikkah and await their groom at their home, or in a hall close to the mosque. Nevertheless, more and more brides are beginning to visit the mosque since the nikkah is what makes the marriage official, and they don’t want to miss that. Female guests keep the bride company, wherever she may be, while the male guests escort the groom.

Although this does not usually take the place of the wedding reception, light snacks and desserts are served at a small gathering after the nikkah. This is a rather emotional time for the couple because they see each other as husband and wife for the first time. They share an intimate moment as they slide on each other’s wedding bands. The classic “you may kiss the bride” moment isn’t a rite of passage at a Muslim wedding, but he’ll probably give her a peck on the cheek or forehead.

In most cases, traditionally religious or cultural garments are worn for the nikkah, and Western garments are donned for the reception. With the wide range of attire on show, weddings are like fashion parades with the bridal couple as the star act.

For the groom, traditional religious clothes would be a long, white robe, sometimes worn with a turban, or a hat known as a fez. In the Indian culture, it is customary for the groom to wear a kurta, an ensemble consisting of a long top and pants. He then changes into a suit or tuxedo for the reception. The dress code for Muslim women obligates them to cover their entire bodies, although it's fine for their faces and hands to be exposed. This applies to their wedding day as well. Because the nikkah is the most sacred part of the wedding, most brides try to follow this dress code during the nikkah but relax the rules at the reception.

Family Life

The domestic unit is frequently large and composed of many generations. Polygamy is common and can both complicate and strengthen a household. Custom dictates that the first, or senior, wife mediates conflicts and oversees the division of labor within the household. In rural areas, in particular, harmonious polygamous households help ensure sufficient allocations for child care, cooking, marketing, and working in the fields. These large households function less well in urban settings, where space is limited and more challenges exist in dividing scarce material and monetary resources. Tensions, favoritism, and jealousy in either setting can jeopardize a household's viability. Some women, as well as men, reject polygamy. Monogamous unions are most common among Christians and western-educated men and women.

Titles and property typically pass through the male members of a family, from father to son or from brother to brother. Specific patterns and customs of inheritance vary by ethnic group. According to Islamic law, which is sometimes followed, a man inherits the wife or wives of his deceased brother. This rule of inheritance is not always implemented, but this practice can produce results that range from the disastrous to the benefits for a widow and her children.

There is a persistent bias in the social hierarchy toward males, and boys are more likely to be educated and adults are more likely to have a range of economic and employment options. Household heads are almost always men and custom allows them to exercise absolute authority over their wives, sisters, and daughters. These patriarchal structures conceal the power that many women wield on a day-to-day level in family compounds and market stalls, in raising children, earning an income, and allocating household resources.

The mother is typically the primary caretaker of a child, although it is not unusual for a grandmother, aunt, or sister to take charge of the child of one of her relations. Children usually breast-feed until two years of age, a practice that helps them remain healthy while promoting birth spacing. According to custom, a man is not supposed to have intercourse with a breastfeeding woman. At birth, children are given charms to wear around the wrist and waist to protect them from evil spirits. Infants spend most of their waking and sleeping hours with their primary caretaker, usually the mother. A mother typically ties her baby on to her back in a wrapper and carries the child as she goes about her daily tasks.



See Also