The Burden of Childlessness to Luo Women in Kenya
In the contemporary world, the issue of childbearing is a matter of choice. A couple may decide to bear children or not. However, within the Luo community, childbearing is an obligation that must be fulfilled by every couple; when this is not met, the couple faces several challenges. This is due to the importance the Luo community have on children. Children ensure the continuity of the lineage, and they ensure the immortality of the dead parents, among others. This article examines the burden the Luo childlessness women have to bear. The findings in this article are based on a cross-sectional field study conducted among the Catholic Luo childless couples in Western Kenya. The Luo Catholic childless couples were sampled using snowball, the Catholic priests and catechists were purposively sampled, and, the Small Christian Community (SCC) leaders were systematically sampled. Data was collected through in-depth oral interviews and Focus Group Discussions. These generated qualitative data that was transcribed, coded, analyzed thematically and presented in a descriptive form and verbatim narratives as stated by the key informants. The findings of the study indicate that the Luo childless women face a number of challenges such as alienation, stigmatization, and ridicule, among others. These challenges affect their lives within the families and at the entire community. The study recommends that childless couples to undergo a medical examination to ascertain if they can be assisted.
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