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FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE OF WIDOWS IN THE KIKUYU CULTURE (A case study of Kiserian Location)
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ABSTRACT

 

Widowhood has become a big social challenge in Kenya due to the escalating death rates caused by HIV/AIDS pandemic and motor accidents among other factors. Men are also said to die in greater numbers because of the nature of their work. The death of a husband plunges his family into poverty forcing the widow to assume all the responsibilities.

The purpose of the study was to assess the factors that influence social acceptance of widows in Kikuyu culture. It sought to answer the following questions; what is the level of social acceptance of widows in Kikuyu culture?, what are the socio- cultural factors that influence social acceptance of widows?, How does social acceptance influence the coping mechanism of the widows and in which ways is social acceptance influenced by socio-economic status of widows. The study used purposive and stratified random sampling technique to select one   location.  A total of one hundred and four widows were registered in the entire five clusters where we managed to interview ninety one widows.  Data was analyzed using quantitative and qualitative techniques.

The study revealed that the level of social acceptance of widows is reasonably high as 60.1 percent strongly agreed while those who strongly disagreed scored 34.5 percent. The study reveals that the level of social acceptance of the widows is influenced by payment of bride price where 54 percent strongly agreed while 66.6 percent strongly agreed that hard work also influenced. Social acceptance also influences the coping mechanism of the widows as 60.9 percent strongly agreed that it does. In addition the study revealed that there was no relationship between the number of children, level of education and social acceptance.

The study concludes that the level of social acceptance of widows among the Kikuyu community is high (60.1%) and this could be attributed to socio-cultural factors such as hard work of the widows and payment of bride price. Further it was concluded that widows are struggling with emotional needs and majority of them have benefited from social acceptance which helps them in their coping mechanisms.

The study recommends that women should be empowered to own property; involve them in major family decisions as this enhance social acceptance and will help them cope well with widowhood.  

http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/handle/11295/11061