Mothering as Migrants: Experiences from the Informal Settlements of Nairobi, Kenya

Cassandra Cotton, McGill University
Donatien Beguy, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Research emphasizing effects of migration on sub-Saharan African families has focused on implications of absent fathers, particularly in areas with historic male migration. Yet, the number of women migrating throughout Africa is likely to have more profound effects on family stability and child well-being. When women move, they face difficult decisions of migrating with children, potentially exposing them to risky environments, or leaving them with others. Little is known about how women make these choices or of implications for children’s well-being whether they co-migrate or are ‘mothered from a distance.’ This research will shed light on decision-making processes of migrant mothers, and the implications of mother’s migration on children’s residence using interviews with migrants in Nairobi’s informal settlements. As African women continue to migrate to cities, this research points to important implications with regard to how women manage family life when migrating to impoverished urban communities.

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Presented in Poster Session 4