The socio– economic challenges faced by widows in urban Zimbabwe: A study of ward 34 in Mufakose high density suburb in Harare
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The purpose of the study was to examine the socio economic challenges faced by widows in urban Zimbabwe. Ward 34 in Mufakose High Density Suburb was the area of study. A sample of ten widows from a targeted population of 120 women who were on area J community centre register of club activities was selected for the study using purposive sampling. Three key informants, 2 from City of Harare, Department of Housing and Community Services (Mufakose) and 1 project officer of a local organization called Ladies Forum were selected using purposive sampling. An interview schedule was used to gather data from the widows while an interview guide was administered to the key informants. The study findings showed that widows experience a number of challenges especially in the face of HIV and AIDS and harsh economic environment. These challenges include reduced standards of living, failure to meet household expenses, children dropouts from school, property grabbing, loneliness and loss of social status. Faced with these challenges widows come together in clubs and groups to provide each other with psychosocial and economic support and engage in various informal activities to earn a living. Recommendations are that programmes and policies for ending violence against widows and their children, poverty alleviation, education and other support to widows of all ages need to be undertaken. Widows need to be empowered through provision of information about their rights and provision of resources and skills for income generation in order to cope with their change of roles as they become sole providers of their households.