Experiences of single fathers involved in child upbringing in Kitgum district: a case study of Pamolo village
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Background: Single fathers have both positive and negative experiences while raising their children. The study explores the experiences of single fathers in Pamolo, Kitgum district, factors influencing their roles, challenges faced and how they cope with the challenges they face as men in society adopting to traditionally feminine roles. Methodology: The study was carried out using qualitative data collection methods; in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and Focus Group Discussions. Through an analysis of key informant interviews with 2 community leaders and in-depth interviews with 10 single fathers of varying class status, age and education, the ways in which these men carry out child upbringing, challenges they face, and how they cope with these challenges, were captured. Findings: The study shows that even though the single fathers had similar roles and challenges, their individual experiences were unique. Some of the main challenges facing single fathers included: managing child care work, emotional struggles, balancing child care and work, financial constraints, negative attitudes from family and community members. More to this, some of the coping mechanisms included: saving and investments, support networks, re arranging work schedules, among others. The commonest sources of social support ere family (mothers, sisters, aunties, uncles), friends and neighbours. By exploring how these fathers carry out childrearing in society, a greater awareness and understanding of this population is created. Conclusion: Single fathers face a number of challenges that are social, emotional, and economic in nature. Despite all these challenges, single fathers are willing to raise and care for their children and redefining masculinity by playing the roles of both a mother and a father. Recommendation: The government can provide free psychosocial support and counselling services to single fathers so as to improve their emotional, social and mental wellbeing.