24 Hours In The Life of
Methods and Objectives
The objective of this exercise is to identify the diverse activities that men and women perform in
different family relationships in order to relearn the division of labor by gender and age and the
implications for projects of research and development in rural areas.
Divide the participants into three groups. Each group needs a paper and pen and a game of
Each group will work with one of the following three cases:
Group 1: This is a family with few resources that lives in an area of Central America where there
is a high level of minifunding and migration. This is a zone of hills where the soil is very poor
and worn out. The family owns one hectare of property. The family is composed of the father of
24 years, the mother of 22 years, and boys between 1 and 3 years. They have no cattle. The
father works as a laborer on a bigger farm 2 km. away.
Group 2: This family lives in an area of central America near an recently created ecological
reserve. They have 5 hectares of property. The mother is widowed and is 40 years old. She
belongs to a local rural organization of women that has started a nursery project which is
generating income. The mother has three children, 18,14, and 8 years old and a 20 year old
daughter and her 26 year old husband and two children, 1 and 3 years old that also live with
Group 3: The family lives in the Peruvian Amazon near a National Ecological Reserve. The
father is 35 and his wife is 32. They have 5 children that live with them; three daughters, 15, 8,
and 5 years old, and two sons, 12 and 10 years old. They cultivate crops and collect forest
Group 4: This family has a 40 year old father who was widowed two months ago. He has a 17
year old son and two daughters, 15 and 12. They live in Amazonia. He is a farmer and has a
Group 5: This family lives in a paper production zone in the Andes. The family is composed of
a mother, father, and two sons, 15 and 6 years old, an 18 year old daughter, and an 18 year old
male cousin. The maternal grandmother has lived with the family for the past year. They
cultivate 3 hectares of land. The father belongs to a recently formed producers association.
They have 3 heads of cattle. The mother belongs to a mothers club organized by her younger
daughter's school teacher.
Group 6: This family of middle means lives in the humid hills of the Andes. It is composed of
the mother (recently widowed), a single son 25 years old, a 20 year old daughter and her year old
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son and 3 year old daughter, a 15 year old son and a 10 year old daughter. They have 10
hectares, part pasture and part sugar cane. They also have a workshop that produces aguardiente
for sale. They employ a man full time in the workshop.
Each group should create a schedule of a normal 24 hour day in the life of the family in their
case. The schedule should include what each member of the family does during each hour of the
cay. Use the chart to enumerate and describe the activities.
Here is an example of how the information can be organized:
When you are done with the schedule, calculate the total number of hours worked for each
member of the household. Then, divide the total hours worked into paid hours and unpaid hours.
You have an hour to elaborate the diary. When you're finished, tape the paper to the wall.