• June 18, 2024
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Navigating Single Motherhood in Nakuru

Navigating Single Motherhood in Nakuru


Friday, May 31, 2024

KNA by Veronica Bosibori & Daisy Moraa

In the heart of Nakuru, Kenya, a profound social transformation is taking shape.

The rise in single motherhood is not just a statistic but a vivid narrative reshaping the community’s fabric.

Through candid street interviews and compelling personal stories, we delve into the myriad reasons behind this growing phenomenon.

Ms. Mercy Achieng’, a 28-year-old mother of two, shares a poignant glimpse into her life.

“I lost my job during the COVID-19 pandemic, and finding new employment has been extremely difficult,” she confides.

“Without a stable income, many men feel overwhelmed and abandon their families, leaving women to manage on their own,” she adds.

Economic instability has made it challenging for many men to fulfill traditional provider roles, resulting in strained relationships and separations.

Women like Mercy are thrust into single parenthood not by choice, but by circumstance, grappling with the daunting task of sustaining their families alone.

Njoroge Paul, a local community leader, sheds light on the shifting cultural landscape. “In the past, marriage was seen as a lifelong commitment, but today’s youth view relationships differently,” he observes.

“There is less stigma associated with single motherhood now, and women feel more empowered to leave unhealthy relationships,” he notes.

This evolution in societal attitudes has emboldened women to prioritize their well-being and that of their children over maintaining dysfunctional relationships.

As perceptions of marriage and family evolve, more single-parent households emerge, reflecting a broader cultural shift. Unlike in the past when elders were involved in such matters, and if a son of their clan was found culpable, they forced him to marry the woman, or pay a fine of goats.

That, according to Njoroge, was a way of protecting children and giving them a sense of belonging.

Nowadays, youngsters rubbish and belittle clan issues, and yet it’s even Biblical.

Esther Wambui, a high school teacher, underscores the critical gap in sex education.

“Many young girls are not well-informed about contraception and safe sex practices. This leads to unplanned pregnancies, and in many cases, the fathers do not remain involved,” she explains.

The lack of comprehensive sexual health education leaves many young women unprepared to make informed decisions about their reproductive health, resulting in a higher incidence of single motherhood.

Regrettably, she said had she known that her first born daughter might fall in the same trap, she would have done better.

Currently, she takes it upon herself to go an extra mile and educate the girls, wherever she finds them.

Ms. Jane Kemunto, a dedicated social worker, at the Kwa Rhonda informal settlement highlights the insidious role of substance abuse.

“Alcohol and drug abuse are prevalent in many areas of Nakuru, leading to irresponsible behavior and broken families,” she says adding, “Many men struggle with addiction and abandon their responsibilities, leaving women to cope alone.”

The destructive impact of substance abuse on relationships is profound, often leading to neglect, domestic violence, and separation, which further fuels the rise in single mothers.

Ms. Faith Mwihaki, a survivor of domestic violence, bravely recounts her ordeal.

“I endured years of abuse before I decided to leave for the sake of my children,” she recalls. “There were no support systems in place to help women like me.”

The widespread issue of gender-based violence and the lack of adequate support services force many women into single motherhood as a means of escaping abusive relationships.

Faith’s story is a testament to the resilience and courage that define many single mothers in Nakuru. Despite the pain of abandonment, a number have succeeded and brought up extremely successful children.

However, as usual the fathers mend their relationships with them, and since a father can’t be rejected, they accept them back, without giving much regard about the feelings of their mothers.

” Amid these challenges, glimmers of hope emerge. Various NGOs and government initiatives are addressing these issues head-on. Programs aimed at economic empowerment, substance abuse rehabilitation, and support for domestic violence victims are beginning to make a tangible difference.

Yet, much more needs to be done to curb the rising rate of single motherhood in Nakuru and beyond. An example is the ‘Jesus is Alive Missionaries,’ who have tailoring programs for single mothers and pay school fees for their children.

However, the increasing rate of single motherhood in Nakuru is a complex issue driven by economic difficulties, changing cultural norms, lack of education, substance abuse, and gender-based violence.

Through the voices of those affected, we gain a deeper understanding of the struggles and resilience of single mothers in Kenya.

Addressing these root causes requires a concerted effort from the community, government, and non-governmental organizations to create a more supportive environment for all families.

And, Ms. Kemunto’s appeal to the government is that the women representative should be given an express role of working towards reducing single mothers in their constituencies and those who succeeded be awarded and recognized for their contribution to society.

“Relying on NGOs isn’t a solution,” she concluded.

Courtesy; KNA

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