Widows across developing nations suffer immensely from social, economic, and political stigmatization. One in ten African women above the age of 14 is widowed, and six percent are divorced. The impact of their loss is the exclusion of economic and social rights as these are tied to having male figures in the households.
Most widows The Goat Foundation has interacted with across Kenya have attested to;
- Having their immediate inlaws grab their property.
- Losing their children to their husband’s lineage and starting from scratch in wealth creation.
- Having no means of survival: few or no employment opportunities.
- Stigma: culture, religion and are vulnerable to sexual violence and diseases.
- Economic collapse: No access to agricultural resources and discriminatory trade policies.
Challenges widows across developing nations face.
According to the United Nations, many developing countries view widowhood as a source of shame and many are thought of as cursed. Such misconceptions can lead to widows being ostracized, abused, and worse. Research by HelpAge International, for instance, has found that in Tanzania hundreds of older women — mostly widows — have been killed because of accusations of being witches.
Poverty; a) Limited Access to credit
Many widows across developing nations are married young. They raise their families young too. In turn, their most productive years are occupied with catering to households.
As housewives, they have limited to no self-sufficiency skills. They fully depend on their husbands for financial provision.
In the case of the death of the sole breadwinner, they are ripped off their comfort and are subjected to hardship.
With low literacy levels, they have limited access to credit or an understanding of financial management.
- b) Limited rights to property ownership.
In Kitui, Kenya we came across a woman who had to start afresh after all her matrimonial property was grabbed by her in-laws.
This is the case for many widows.
No laws protect them against this form of abuse.
Read Joyce’s story here.
- c) Inheriting debts.
Many widows have had to inherit the debts of their deceased husbands.
With no form of employment, this puts them in a continuous cycle of debt.
- Violence in all its forms.
Across East Africa, there are communities that subject widows to harmful sexual practices. They are expected to be remarried to their husband’s close relatives.
This is done to ensure they have male figures who will provide for them.
Widows in such cases may suffer from diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Some widows are forcefully taken through demeaning practices such as public hair shaving.
How Cause capitalism is solving problems around widows.
The Goat Foundation team is headquartered in Nairobi and is headed by its founder Mr. Steve Down who with the support of partners and friends, earnestly set out to give hope to this marginalized demographic.
With the help of community organizers, religious leaders, and official local authorities, the foundation identified families of widows and orphans from impoverished regions as recipients of their aid.
The thinking behind the donation of 2 goats to every widow was that not only would these goats offer milk as a nutritional supplement and multiply by giving birth, but it was also an ideal substitute for the existing economy of subsistence crop farming.