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ABSTRACT

The widow groups of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka were established as forums for widows to meet together for their common interest. The help being offered to these widows mostly come in form of welfare relief packages such as money, foodstuff, clothes and shelter, which are occasionally given to them. There are many problems that are associated with widowhood, which could make many of the widows see themselves as helpless. It is necessary for the widows to be empowered to enhance their potentials and exercise their individuality instead of waiting for the world to come to their rescue. How could these widows be empowered to cope with their problems? This could be possible through education. As women who are engaged in many activities, they need a type of education, which is non-formal in nature. This study therefore, aimed at investigating how the widows of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka may be empowered to cope with their problems through non-formal education programmes. Five research questions and one null hypothesis were posed for the study and the research design was a survey. A total of one thousand and two widows who are registered members of the St. Rita’s Widows Association from the twenty-three parishes where the association exists constituted the population while three hundred and four was the sample. The study employed a simple random sampling. The drawing of the sample was based on one-third (1/3) of the entire population.  A structured questionnaire was used to elicit some information form the widows.  Copies of the questionnaire were administered and data collected and analysed.  Simple percentage, weighted mean and ANOVA statistics were used to analyse and test the research questions and hypothesis respectively. The findings revealed among others that majority of the widows indicated interest in acquiring educational qualifications. There was a general agreement that the widows will be empowered through income-generating skills training, reproductive health, literacy, family life education and legal education programmes. There was significant deference among the coping strategies of the widows based on their educational qualifications. Therefore the null hypothesis is therefore rejected. Recommendations made based on the finding include among others that The Catholic Diocese of Nsukka should establish skills acquisition centres for their widows, at strategic parishes, which should integrate all the aspects of non- formal education programmes identified in this study.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE……………………………………………………………………           i

CERTIFICATION……………………………………………………………………..       ii

APROVAL PAGE……………………………………………………………………..       iii

DEDICATION…………………………………………………………………………       iv

ACKNOWLEGEMET…………………………………………………………………       v

TABLE OF CONTENTS……………………………………………………………..         vi

LISTOF TABLES……………………………………………………………………          viii

ABSTRACTS…………………………………………………………………………         ix

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION ………………………………………………..     1

Background of the Study…………………………………………….………….                 1

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM……………………………………………….…………     8

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY…………………………………………………………….…    10

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY…………………………………………………………..    10

Research Questions………………………………………………………………………     12

Hypothesis……………………………………………………………………………….     12

Scope of the Study……………………………………………………………………….    12

 

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE……………….          13

Conceptual Framework  ……………..…………………………………………………………. ……           13

Empowerment …………………………………………………………………………        18

Different ways of empowering widows through non-formal education………………        21

Non-formal education……………………………………………………………………     38

Theoretical Framework…………………………………………………………………       42

Human capital theory………………………………………………………………… .        42

Role theory framework………………………………………………………………… .     44

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory……………………………………………………..     45

Self-actualization theory…………………………………………………………………     48

Review of Related empirical Studies…………………………………………………….    48

Summary of related literature review…………………………………………………         54

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY……………………………………            55

DESIGN OF THE STUDY…………………………………………………………….  .        55

AREA OF STUDY……………………………………………………………………         55

POPULATION OF THE STUDY………………………………………………………….        55

SAMPLE AND SAMPLING TECHNIQUES…………………………………………………      57

INSTRUMENT FOR DATA COLLECTION………………………………………… ……… .      57

VALIDITY OF INSTRUMENT…………………………………………………………..  .      58

Reliability of Instrument…………………………………………………………           .     58

Procedure for Data Analysis…………………………………………………….……….     58

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA………            60

Analysis of  Research Questions   ………………………………………………        60

Test of Hypotheses ………………………………………………………………       68

Summary of Findings   ……………………………………………………………       72

 

CHAPTER FIVE:   DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION, IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATION………… 74

DISCUSSION ON FINDINGS………………………………………………………….        74

CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………………..       80

EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS………………………………….. ……      80

RECOMMENDATIONS………………………………………………………………..       81

LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY………………………………………………………            82

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDIES………………………………………………….       83

REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………          84

Appendix A……………………………………………………………             95

Appendix B ……………………………………………………………..                      96

Appendix C   ………………………………………………………………..                102

Appendix D  …………………………………………………………………              103

Appendix E   ……………………………………………………………………          105

Appendix F   ……………………………………………………………………          107

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

1

The term empowerment is a widely used word. To empower means to give power or authority; to give ability to enable.  Empowerment therefore, is the process by which individuals and groups gain power, access to resources and control over their own lives.  In doing so, they gain the ability to achieve their highest goals and aspirations (Robbins, Chatterjee and Canda, 1998). It is taking of power at both individual and social level (Karine and Stine, 2003). Moreover, Bogunjoko in Dauda (2006), viewed empowerment from the economic point of view as a broad concept that entails changing the living condition of people in terms of their capacity to create   as well as access goods and services necessary for the collective well being of the society for which they are members. The author further noted that discussions on the economic empowerment are usually informed by the acknowledgment of the existence of vulnerable group such as widows whose capacity to either create or access the basics of life is highly limited. A widow is a woman whose husband is dead and is not remarried. It comes from the Sanskrit and it means ‘empty’ (Ololade, 2009). Widows make up a significant proportion of the female population in all societies with a few exceptions. Across the globe, they share two common experiences; a loss of social status and reduced economic conditions (United Nations Divisions for the Advancement of Women, 2001). Hence empowerment is particularly necessary in alleviating the plight of widows.

Many of the experiences of widows emanate from widowhood practices being observed in most developing nations.  These practices have a lot of effects to women who have lost their husbands through death. Most of the cultural practices that are performed when a women’s husband dies are dehumanizing and harmful to those women who pass through them.  For example, in some cases, a widow is being made to drink the water with which her husband’s corpse was washed, confined to one place for a special period. She is also, being inherited as property by her late husband’s brother and her refusal often results to her being beaten, raped, abandoned or sent packing to her parent’s home and even denied access to her children.

Thus, widowhood affects the access of most widows to basic goods and services.   It also affects their rights to inherit the property of their late husbands.  Many widows are harassed, abused and denied land and livelihood.  They are generally maltreated and rejected in their late husband’ houses.  Supporting these assertions, the United Nations Divisions for the Advancement of Women, (2001), noted that widows are the poorest and most vulnerable group since they are often deprived of their rightful inheritance.  The author therefore concluded that their poverty is directly related to their lack of access to economic resources.  In line with this view, Guild of service (2002), also observed that households headed by widows suffer dramatic decline in per capita income.  The poverty of widowhood often causes the children of many widows, especially girls to be with drawn from school, putting them into child labour, begging or even sex work.  In order to make ends meet, some of the widows get involved in all sorts of exploitative work as their coping strategies, including giving out their bodies to men either for cash or in an exchange of help received in kind.  Hence, widowhood does pose problems for widows, especially when they are not empowered and very seldom are they empowered (The Hindu, 2002).

However, it must be known that some widows are enormously resourceful and resilient.  These go on to manage successful creative lives both physically and professionally (United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, 2001).  It can then be deduced that widows who are resilient, are those who have been empowered to improve their condition.  For example, Owen (2005) noted that improvised women in India are seen as people with vast potential for contributing economically and socially to communities and who have skills to obtain this recognition from government. In line with this view, (The Hindu, 2002) stressed that it is necessary for widows to enhance their potential and exercise their individuality instead of waiting for the world to come to their rescue.  According to the author, most of them perceive them selves as helpless.

Particularly, widows need to be empowered to cope with the problems associated with widowhood.  Coping, according to Oreh (1998), means to manage stressful and problematic situation successfully. The first step towards the achievement of freedom by the widows is education.  Education is the process, which helps all humans to grow and lack of it, harms its victims (Okoye, 1995).  Widows can face extra difficulties if they do not possess an adequate educational background or are not given the opportunity to improve their education.  The role of education as one of the most effective strategies of empowering widows has been pointed by Oreh (1998), who stressed that women’s education is a major tool for coping with the problems of widowhood.  This is inline with Ahonsi (1997) who noted that there is need for literacy, skills acquisition, legal advices and services.  Such services could be provided through non-formal education programmes.  Non-formal education is any organized type of education provided outside the formal school system (Denga, 2001).  It is an organized educational or training activity for school drop outs, for illiterate rural and urban adults, for youth, for women, for industrial workers aimed at improving their employment and income earning potentials or giving them general education which may help them re-enter the formal education, in some cases (Bhola in Ngwu, 2003).  These non-formal education (NFE) programmes for widows emphasize income generating skills training, literacy, family life education, reproductive health education and legal education.  These aspects of NFE are considered necessary because they have the potentials of addressing different challenges of widowhood.  Income generating skills training will enable them to acquire and up grade their skills for employment or income generating activities.  Literacy will give illiterate widows the skills that will enhance their access to information that can better their lives.  Family life education has the potentials of improving their knowledge and skills for family improvement.  In the same way, reproductive health education is capable of improving their reproductive health and helps reduce reproductive health problems such as sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS, and other reproductive health problems that can be caused by lack of body hygiene.   It can also equip them to manage successfully reproductive health issue like menopause.  Moreover, legal education hopefully, will provide the knowledge and skills for widows as individuals or groups to exercise their rights, have access to privileges given to them and air their views in decision making process.

A typical example of non-formal education programme for women was the Women Population and Development Programme of China, which offered the following activities.

  • Inputs to awaken women’s sense of their own power, funds to augment their resources.
  • Training
  • Improved delivery of health care
  • Literacy service.

The women learned various skills in order to start their own micro-enterprise, either with other members or on their own, using loans from the group’s savings and the programme loan.  These funds were managed as a revolving fund so that more people could use the funds.  Seminars on family planning, women health care and nutrition were conducted regularly.  At the seminar, skills training were provided through local extension stations so that women could learn new family techniques for improving their families.  Women also participated in literacy classes to improve their access to information and technical training (FAO and UNDP, 2001).

 

The type of non-formal education (NFE) programmes described above could be extended to widows of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka.  This is because they have their own share of the experiences of widows. The Diocese covers the land area of the seven local governments that make up Nsukka cultural zone.  These include;Igbo Etiti, Igboeze North, Igboeze South, Isiuzo, Nsukka, Udenu and Uzo-Uwani.  Moreover, the Diocese stretches from Ukehe in the South to Ette in the North and from Eha-Amufu in the East to Ogurugu in the West.  The Diocese has 70 parishes (Catholic Diocesan Secretariat, 2010).

In view of the problems of widows, the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka encouraged their widows to gather themselves in to groups. One of the groups is a registered association and now exists in over twenty parishes under the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, scattered both in urban and rural areas of the Dioceses. It has it’s headquarter at the St. Theresa’s Cathedral, located in Nsukka urban. The group is known as the St. Rita’s Widows Association. However, there are other widow groups in few parishes under the Dioceses such as the St. Elizabeth Widows Association and the Zarephath Widows but these ones are only on parish bases. In other wards, they are only operating at parish level. The widow groups of the Catholic Dioceses of Nsukka were basically for welfare relief purposes. These groups serve as avenues for helping the needy ones with some provisions such as money, food, clothes, health care and shelter (Agu, 2008). These widow groups have published some editions of widows’ magazine known as “The Widows Voice’’. Since about two-third of widow groups is located in the rural areas and a significant number of them are illiterate and can not read or write, how then can they have an increased access to the information in the magazines that are meant to improve the lives of widows.  Thus, there is need for these widows to be empowered through literacy so that they will be able to access written information that can help them to improve their condition.  Also, some of the widows in the rural areas have group farm but they operate at subsistence level, which yield low productivity.  Hence, these widows could be empowered to operate improved   mechanized farming for better increase of income. Moreover, (Agu, 2005) observed that many of the widows including those under study die out of frustration and HIV/AIDS. The widow groups of the Catholic Dioceses of Nsukka concentrated on welfare relief packages, which were occasional given to them. Moreover, governments and philanthropies occasionally give welfare relief packages to these widows but seem to have neglected non-formed education. However, there is need for self-reliance as alternative way of helping the widows. Agu (2008:47) stressed the need for educational programmes by making a clarion call to individuals and groups to support the widows.  In the words of the author,  “We run up and down looking for what to give them at daily bases but this time we want to teach them how to fish rather than giving them fish everyday”.  The author concluded by noting that the advice on how to improve the lives of widows was needed.

There are members of the widows association who are young, middle aged and elderly, some of them are farmers, petty traders and civil servants. Some do not even engage in any occupations. No mater their categories, there should be a wide range of non-formal education programmes for the widows, which they can benefit from. There are also, educated, rich and well to do widows who do not necessarily need to be empowered like poor and illiterate widows, but they can be part of a collective empowerment for collective social change in the plight of the widows as groups.  In other words, they can serve as agents of change or resource persons in the empowerment of other widows.  Therefore, the contributions of these widows   are needed in the provision of non-formal education programmes, such educational programmes that are capable of equipping the widows under study to cope with their problems. On this background therefore, this study is poised to investigate how to empower these widows of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka through non- formal education programmes.

 

Statement of the Problem

The problems that have been found common among widows, especially in developing countries like those under study include among others; financial and economic hardship, dependency, disinheritance of property, loss of social status, reduced self esteem, loneliness, poor relationship with in-laws, difficulty in social interaction, disciplining of children and sexual abuse (Onadeko, Lawoyin, Amodu, Ejikeme, and Dairo, 2002; Ololade 2009).

It is possible that some of the widows of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka under study are experiencing some or most of the problems that widows face. It is also possible that some of them do not have any vocational skill to earn a living. Some of the farmers among them may not have what to fall back on during off farming season. Some low waged workers among them may not have any income generating skill to augment their salaries. It is possible that some do not have access to loan for their business or information that can improve their business. It is also possible that some of the widows cannot read or write. Perhaps some of them are overwhelmed with family problems and lack information on how to overcome them. Some may be oppressed but have no knowledge of how to solicit for the help of bodies that fight for widows’ rights and justice. Some may not know the rights and privileges available to them as widows. Possibly, some are ignorant of the causes of sexually transmitted diseases (STDS) and HIV /AIDS and their dangers to human being, thus living promiscuous lives as alternative to improving their family livelihood. Some may not know how to cope with some other common reproductive health issues such as menopause. Probably, some may be experiencing emotional problems and do not know how to overcome them and may resort to negative or poor emotional adaptation strategies such as the use of harmful drugs or cutting oneself off from her environment. All the above-mentioned tendencies could be common among uneducated and illiterate widows such as those under study. According to Olukun (1997), studies revealed that educated and enlightened widows experience less of the problems widows encounter than less educated ones.  Nevertheless, it seems that these widows are not being empowered with a wide range of non-formal education that is capable of addressing some of these challenges. According to United Nation Division for the Advancement of women (2001), widows must be specifically singled out and targeted, if their basic and long-term needs are to be met and their contribution to their communities realized. The problem of this study therefore, posed as a question is how may the widows in the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka be empowered so that they can cope with their problems through non-formal education?

 

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to investigate how to empower widows of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka to cope with the problems of widowhood through non-formal education.  Specifically this study will seek to:

  1. Ascertain the characteristics of the widows.
  2. Examine the problems the widows are facing as a result of widowhood
  3. Investigate the coping strategies of widows
  4. Determine the non-formal education practices that the widows require
  5. Determine how to empower the widows to cope with their problems.

 

Significance of the Study

As many women are being widowed and are rendered incapable of meeting their basic needs and aspirations as a result of widowhood, the issue of empowering them should be given serious thought. The significance of this study is therefore of great importance for widow groups and associations especially the St. Rita’s Widows Association, religious organizations including the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, the local, state and federal governments, the ministry of women affairs, national and international organizations, policy makers, curriculum designers, adult education administrators, community development workers and future researchers.

This study is important because, no serious action has been taken to fill the vacuum that has been created in the lives of many widows as a result of widowhood, especially in the area of study where there are widow forums yet, there seem to be no significant educational efforts that have been provided for these women so that they will be able to cope with their conditions. Through the findings of this study, people will be more aware of widows’ problems, and coping strategies and also will be able to identify how to empower them to adopt better adaptation strategies in coping with their problems.

In other words, it will enable the above named bodies to initiate a general rethinking on the provision of relevant non- formal education programmes that will enable the widows cope with their challenges successfully in other to fulfill their potentials. It will enable the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka and other religious organizations to organize relevant educational programmes that can help to improve the conditions of the widows.  It will enable the local, state and federal government to support widow groups, which can represent widow issues in central and local bodies.  It will also enable them to make funds available for the promotion of widows’ education; especially those under study. This study will enable curriculum designers to design balanced educational programmes that are capable of addressing different problems of widows. It will enable the ministry of women affairs to adequately take up widow issues and interest, especially the ones that concern their education, as priority areas. It will enable the policy makers to create policies that can enhance appropriate implementation of non- formal education programmes to widows in Enugu State in general. Moreover, widows used in this study and widow groups in other states of the country can adopt information and ideas generated in this study in improving and broadening their horizons. Lastly, the study will serve as an anchor for future researchers, in their further studies on widows’ empowerment.

Research Questions

  1. What are the characteristics of the widows?
  2. What problems are the widows facing as a result of widowhood?
  3. What are the coping strategies of widows?
  4. What are the non- formal education practices that the widows require?
  5. How may the widows be empowered to cope with their problems?

Hypothesis

Ho:     There is no significant difference among the coping strategies of the widows based on their educational qualification

Scope of the Study

The scope of this study will be limited to all the widows who are members of the St. Rita’s Widows Association of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka. The scope is also limited to how the widows may be empowered through five non-formal education programmes. These include: income generation training/education, literacy, family life education, reproductive health education and legal education programmes.

 

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