Problems and coping strategies of Child Headed Households in Fisher Folk Communities: A case of Lwampanga Sub-County, Nakasongola District
Nanfuka, Esther Kalule
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Abstract Child Headed Households (CHHs) have more or less become an acceptable family form in many parts of Uganda and the world at large. Nevertheless, they continue to suffer a host of hardships as they strive to survive; and in the process naturally mobilize their psychological and socio- economic resources to cope with the situation. This study attempted to uncover the social situation of CHHs in the fishing communities of Lwampanga Sub-County, Nakasongola district, using a qualitative approach and a descriptive case study design. The specific objectives of the study include the transitioning of households from adult headed to child headed, the problems they encounter and the coping strategies they adopt to deal with them. The key findings from the study include but are not limited to: the locality is a key variable in determining the forms, causes, problems and coping strategies of CHHs within its vicinity; the emergence of a new form of CHHs consisting of single or non orphans encountering problems similar to those of other types; and the observation that the existence of parents is no guarantee that the children’s welfare will be catered for. The emergence of CHHs in the landing sites of the study area is perpetuated more by a complex web of constraints embedded in the socio- economic/cultural and political systems of the area. The HIV and AIDS pandemic, plays a role in the death of the parents but cannot be clearly attached to the erosion of the extended family. It was further observed that the problems encountered by CHHs in the study area are just as bad as those illuminated in existing literature; albeit the former also grapple with more sophisticated problems such as witchcraft, the impending loss of social identity and the general deficiency of formal and informal social protection mechanisms which render them more vulnerable and less resilient. CHHs in the study area redesign and reorganize the structure of the household to accommodate the new roles and responsibilities that emerge. In addition sex and age are key players in the well being of CHHs at the landing sites; the stability of families is crucial for the wellbeing of the children; and the causes and woes of these households are generally rooted in the system.