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Background of the Study

Entrepreneurship is the process of creating something new with value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic and social risk and receiving the resulting reward of monetary, personal satisfaction and independence. (Hisrich, Richard& peter, Michael P, 2002). It is the willingness and ability of individuals to seek out investment opportunities, in an environment, and been able to establish and run an enterprise successfully based on the already identified opportunities (Gana 2001).

Entrepreneurship as a concept is embedded with entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurial skills are those basic skills necessary to enable an individual to start, develop, finance and succeed in his/her own enterprise. Entrepreneurial skills are skills needed by individuals, which enables them to embark on practices which in turn guarantees their financial security, economic stability and self-reliance, these skills are leant and taught to individuals they are not necessarily innate, they  include such vocational  skills as dress making, hair dressing, bead work, craft making, cosmetology which deals with the   production of liquid soap, disinfectants, hair cream, perfume, tie and dye, food preparation, interior and exterior decoration etc.

Entrepreneurship equips individuals with skills which when put into use could enable the individual to be self- reliant and guarantees his or her financial security. Entrepreneurship contributes positively to the growth of a nation by investing and uplifting the level of its human capital, the future potential of any nation’s economy to grow is dependent on its investment on its human resources, as humans resource remains the only resources that does not depreciate this entails empowering all citizens irrespective of social status, age, gender, that is empowerment of the youths, married, single, orphans and widows etc.. Marriage is the intimate union and equal partnership of a man and a woman, it is both a natural institution and a sacred union because it is rooted in the divine plan of creation.

However this intimate union and sexual relationship that couples enjoy in marriage can be obstructed and put to a halt by the death of one partner in marriage.  This does not imply the end or termination of that marriage and the relationship that existed between the both families involved; this is so because the deceased left behind his children and property which are the product of the marriage. The death of one partner in marriage have a social implication for the couple who is still alive, it accords such a person a new social status, the man becomes a widower while the woman becomes a widow. A widow is a woman whose spouse has died (Catherine soanes 2001).

A Widow is a woman who lost her spouse to death and has not yet remarried. Rev, fr. Anthony Ekendu O.2014  a widow is a married woman who lost her husband through death and as a result experienced all forms of maltreatment from her in laws, the community and in fact the society at large.  The period following the death of one partner in marriage is often characterized by uncontrollable emotional display such as prolonged and excessive weeping, sadness, despair and depressed mood. This is so because the death, especially of a very close person, is often seen as an ultimate loss, which invariably is accompanied by grief. Oniye (2000).

The death of a spouse and its consequences are not the same for both male and female and this could be attributed to the patriarchal practices upheld in the society.  The state of being a widow is termed widowhood, therefore widowhood refers to a period in which a woman lost her husband to death.  Widowhood is the condition which follows the death of a male partner in marriage Edekobi (2000). The period of widowhood is often accompanied by important social issues in some communities in which the man is the sole bread winner, his sudden death would as a matter of fact subject the family to an untold hardship and poverty.

The plight of widows is not only restricted to economic crisis, it also involves emotional and psychological problems such as loneliness as a woman who has got used to living with her husband, sharing everything in common, setting and achieving goals together, when such a woman losses her husband along the line, the woman’s life span is reduced.  Widowhood practices differs from society to society Babatunde & owasanoye (2001) stated that in some patriarchal societies widows could maintain economic independence , a widow could carry on her late husband’s business and consequently  be accorded certain rights to her husband’s wealth and property.

They further revealed that in some societies the woman would be accused of masterminding the husband’s death even when it is crystal clear that the man died a natural or accidental death. Widowhood is an unpleasant experience as most widows are subjected to untold hardship, inhuman treatment and maltreatment, they are poorly cared for by those whom they were supposed to receive succor from. Odunze (2005) attributed widowhood as an unwanted and unpleasant stage that women pass through in life, it is a period of sadness, unhappiness, loneliness and helplessness. Widowhood is often accompanied by emotional loss and change in lifestyle, identity, social status and role. Zahedi (2006).

In some societies widows are inherited and remarried to their late husband’s male relative, this is in order to ensure their social security, very often this practice is without the consent of the widow, thus refusal to adhere to this practice, the widow is accused of being responsible for her husband’s death (Onyekuru 2011). This practice of widow inheritance has been identified as one of the leading causes of the spread of Hiv/Aids (United Nations 2004; 13). The deprivation of a widow’s inheritance is a common practice in the eastern part of Nigeria.

Nzewi (2000) revealed that among the Igbo people of Nigeria the relatives of the deceased  man demands for documents relating to the deceased property including lands, investments and bank accounts, and the widow is required to take an oath as a proof that the knowledge of relevant land and properties of the deceased were not concealed. The plight of widows are worsen by these humiliating and dehumanizing rites which  leaves the widow and her children with nothing, thereby subjecting them to penury and abject poverty. According to Hurd (2002).

The issue of poverty amongst widows is particularly troublesome since they have fewer possibilities to recover from a drop of income which follows widowhood Hurd. It has been identified that Loss of spousal earnings are contributors to the rate of poverty and economic hardship amongst widows. To this end it therefore becomes necessary and imperative to seek for ways and means to alleviate the plight of widows. The ordeal of widow’s can be alleviated through entrepreneurial skill acquisition.

Entrepreneurial skill acquisition which is a process whereby a person acquires or learns a particular skill or type of behavior needed for business through training or education (Amadi, 2012; chukwunenye & Igboke 2011; Ibru 2009). It is worth noting that  Frantic efforts and measures have been employed by governmental and non-governmental organizations and geared towards ensuring that Nigerian widows have and maintain a level of financial stability and capabilities which would enable them to cope effectively with widowhood stage.

This is evidenced in the establishment of the Ebonyi State widow care center located at the state capital which provides trainings and entrepreneurial skill acquisition programs such as tie and dye, bead making, soap production to widows. Also in July 2011, a non-governmental organization in Lagos, Jesus healing hands care global outreach incorporated, organized a skill acquisition workshop and seminar for no fewer than 500 widow. Aderemi (2011)   revealed that the workshop was aimed at empowering widows in various skills, and that the skill the essence of the program was to expose the widows to the various opportunities that are available to them such as hair dressing, fashion designing, computer training, tie and dye, liquid soap and detergent production, production of some food items especially, custard powder.

The Lagos state  widow’s skill acquisition program  which was launched on March 2015, this scheme empowered widows in Lagos state with gift items to assist them in their skill acquisition program, the scheme which comprises of ethnic groups in the country provides widows with trainings on fashion designing, hart making, cake baking among others. The program was specifically designed to help and enable them take up their family responsibilities, and enhance their economic power.


Statement of the Problem

Across different cultures in Nigeria, sufficient evidence has proved that there exist harmful traditional widowhood practices which have attracted the attention of the global struggle in general on violence against women. In addition to this perspective it is also viewed as another aspect of gender based violence, which generates concern for the status of women in Nigeria relative to men in the circumstance of death of a spouse. Widowed women are severally affected financially, psychologically, sexually and socially (Stillion, 2000; Afolayan, 2011).

Idailu  (2012) posit that widowhood practices occurs in various communities in Nigeria and each ethnic groups in the country has its own peculiar and prescribed set of rules or behaviors which are considered culturally appropriate, in most cases these rules and rites are often detrimental and damaging  to the psychological, financial, health and social status of widows. The inhuman treatments widows are subjected to includes, deprivation of husbands property, long period of mourning, shaving of the head, eating from unwashed plates, compulsory wailing, and washing the death man’s body and drinking the water (Emery, 2003).

Baobab argued that Widows upon the death of their husbands instead of them being sympathized with, or even assisted are subjected to near inhuman treatment in traditional ritual rites and practices such as solitary confinement, defacement, disinheritance, a relatively long mourning period of limited active socio economic activities and outright ostracisation. He further added that the most obvious effects of this harmful widowhood practices are deep loss of identity and self-esteem. The widowhood conditions expose women to psychological and physical abuse as well as a whole range of health related problems including HIV/AIDs (Baobab, 2012). Furthermore Fasoranti and Aruna (2003) noted that when a man dies his widow is now deprived of his income and the nucleus of the family is destroyed.

Afigbo (2000) noted that at the death of a woman’s husband she would be expected to surrender all of her late husband’s property including bank accounts. As a result of this harmful widowhood practices the children of the widow are left with nothing, a  widow is forcefully deprived of her husband’s property especially where the widow does not have a male child, this makes the widow and her female children extremely vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation, sexual harassment and subtle to abject poverty which in turn can pose a serious health  constraint such as starvation and malnutrition to the widow and her children thereby deepening the plight of widows, it has also been observed that the children of the widows are also affected academically, as widowed mothers now supporting their families alone are forced to retrench their   children from school; moreover, the daughters of widows may suffer multiple deprivations increasing their vulnerability to abuse thus a need for this study.

Purpose of the Study

This study is geared towards alleviating the plights of widows using entrepreneurship skill acquisition in Ohoazara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Specifically the study aims to

  1. Ascertain widowhood practices in Ohoazara local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
  2. Ascertain the effect of widowhood on widows in Ohoazara local Government area of Ebonyi state.
  3. Determine the kind of entrepreneurship skills needed in alleviating the plight of widows in Ohoazara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

     Significance of the Study


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