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Hiv-Aids and Single Mothers Livelihoods Security in Slum Houeseholds Targeting Procedures in Safety-Net Programmes in Kenya


Single mothers coping mechanisms with the effects of HIV and AIDS in slum settlements are rarely analysed and documented.The numerous vibrant anti-Aids campaigns are no longer visible in slums. Does this imply that a cure of AIDS has finally been discovered? If not what is happening to these cohort of singles mothers who live with HIV and AIDS in Slums? The study focused on investigating how single mothers in slum settlements in Kenya cope with HIV and AIDS and their survival tricks in managing the effects. It applied mixed research methods, where both qualitative and quantitative designs were adopted. It sought to respond to the question: How do single mothers in slums cope with the effects of HIV and AIDS and how are they targeted in safety-net interventions? Qualitative methods of data collection such as in-depth interviews guided by questionnaires, key informant discussions, Focus Group Discussions and observation were predominantly employed. Both qualitative and qualitative methods of data analysis were used where specific themes generated key findings which were presented in verbatim expressions to reveal the actual feelings as presented by the respondents. Quantitative data were presented in frequency tables, percentages, pie charts, bar graphs and histograms for comparative purposes. The study found that there is little presence of the National and County governments in slums in almost all aspects like development projects, social order and social security although administrative offices of assistant chiefs and in some cases chief’s camps exist. This abnormality makes life for infected and affectcted single mothers in slums vulnerable to more health risks, besides receiving ARVs from some health centres. The affected women engage on different survival tricks like illegal brews, commercial sex work (exposing them to the same cycle of AIDS re-infections), small scale businesses especially hawking; and washing clothes in affluent households revealed by 132 (67%) of the respondents. They live in abject poverty in un-inhabitable dwellings. Some of them sell the ARV drugs to traditional alcohol brewers to earn a living (ARVs are used as ethanol to ferment alcohol). AIDS is no longer a threat according to the inhabitants in the slums and therefore they do not care much as 168(85.3%) in all the slums under the study observed. Some see AIDS as an opportunity for selection in safety-net interventions, thus seek for infection as a quick fix to desperate slum life as 43(22%) in Kibara slums in Nairobi asserted. The study recommends that to guarantee the future stability of single mothers different stakeholders in socioeconomic and social welfare programmes should empower them to be self reliant through economic support systems. The current NGO support may lead to prolonged cycle of dependency since the poor see it as a consistent source of livelihood, when in actual fact is an handout.


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