Author(s): Friday Asiazobor EBOIYEHI
Poverty among elderly widows in Nigeria is one of the most pervasive and yet the least recognized social problem. The cultural belief that it is the responsibility of the extended family members to cater for their needs contributes greatly to their neglect. Consequently, there is no formal established welfare programme in place to fill this gap. Drawing on data from in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs), the study investigates the impact of poverty on elderly widows and their coping mechanisms in selected rural communities in the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. Indepth interview and focus group discussion results indicate that spousal loss, poor health, lack of property inheritance, the present socio-economic climate, illiteracy, low level of occupation and income contribute greatly to the poverty status of elderly widows in rural Nigeria. The various coping strategies adopted included petty trading, farming, selling of personal property, and alms begging. The policy implication of the paper is also discussed.