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Title: FEMALE-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS' VULNERABILITY AND THEIR PARTICIPATION IN EGS: A CASE STUDY OF TWO PAs IN MEKDELA WEREDA, SOUTH WELLO
Authors: ALl, HASSEN
Advisors: Dr. Yared Amare
Copyright: Jun-2000
Date Added: 20-Nov-2012
Abstract: Gender studies in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa showed that rural women historically remained invisible in development agendas. In the literature it is argued that women are heterogeneous groups with various needs and problems. The most common types of rural women are married and female heads of households. It has been also claimed that the number of female-headed households is growing in both developing and developed countries due to cultural, social and economic factors. Moreover, female-headed households are claimed to be disadvantaged social groups who have less access to and control over productive resources such as land, labor and capita. In addition, femaleheaded households have been affected by development interventions that either increase their workload or are beyond their reach. As a result, FHHs form the greater proportion of the poor and vulnerable groups in developing countries. In light of this perspective this micro level study attempts to explain the socio-economic situation of FHHs and their involvement in Employment Generation Schemes (EGS) and its impact on them. This study has raised research questions such as i) what are the causes of female-headship? ii) which factors contribute to their vulnerability/disadvantage? iii) what are their specific problems and coping mechanisms? iv) what is the level of their involvement in Employment Generation Schemes (EGS) and its impact on them? The general objectives of this research are to i) investigate FHHs access to and control over productive resources (land, labor and capita!), ii) assess their participation in EGS and the impact of the scheme on FHHs. iii) identify and recommend issues to be considered in designing of employment programs, development policies, strategies and projects. Three research methods - household survey, focus group discussions and the household case histories were employed in order to achieve the objectives of the research. In the household survey, sixty FHHs and thirty male heads of households (MHHs) were selected among the workers of Employment Generation Schemes (EGS) being implemented in two PAs of Mekdela Wereda, South Wello. A separate questionnaire was administered to female and male respondents in order to generate baseline information on their socio-economic situation and level of participation in EGS Focus-group discussions were held with men's and women's groups to identify common problems, needs, preferences, and to prioritize them. Case histories of ten female heads of households were ix recorded to investigate their decision-making rights, histories, personal experiences and challenges that FHHs have encountered in the community and in EGS implementation. In this research both qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed. The results of the analysis have been presented in description and comparisons shown in tables and logical arguments to meet the objectives of the study. The study pointed out that divorce, death of husband, migration of husband and other cultural factors were the causes of female-headship in the study area. Divorce was the main sociological factor leading to female-headship, and it is caused by personal conflict of husband and wife, poverty, illness and conflict over household resources. The research also found out that FHHs have less access to main productive resources (labor, capital and land) as compared to MHHs. The study revealed that FHHs have their specific problems such as lack of adult labor, capital, assets, farm tools, good quality land, lack of time, workload, etc. These constraints have affected the livelihood of FHHs and maintained their vulnerability. As a result of these constraints, FHHs have few livestock and few crop productions. Therefore, the research established that they have difficulty offeeding their family and face recurrent food shortages. However, FHHs do not sit and wait for external intervention. They strive to cope with their particular problems and food shortages through various networks and coping mechanisms. With respect to specific problems such as lack of labor and capital, they use their social networks to get access to labor and capital. To cope with food shortages they undertake various non-farm works. However, due to local resources deficit and recurrent failure of rains, non-farm activities and indigenous coping mechanisms are not always possible. As a result, public responses such as EGS and relief assistance have been the major sources offoodfor vulnerable groups such as the poor, the landless and FHHs. In the study area FHHs have got access to food through working on EGS Apart from increasing workload and delays in payments, EGS has become the main source of food for FHHs. Therefore, given the severe labor shortages, lack of non-farm activities and food crisis in the area, special arrangements must be made to reduce women's workload and delays in payments during the implementation ofEGS
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/3835
Appears in:Thesis - Regional and Local Development

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