Fatherhood in Lesotho: The Effects of Children’s Living Arrangements with Biological Fathers and Other Adult Male Relatives on Current School Enrollment

Thandie Hlabana, Brown University

Research on absent fathers highlights psychological maladjustments, school under-performance, anti-social behaviours and difficulty in establishing intimate relationships of children in non-intact families. In Lesotho about 70% of children do not co-reside with their fathers due to high labour migration to South Africa coupled with high paternal orphanhood from HIV/AIDS. Using 2004 DHS data, the objective of this study is to measure the effects of children’s living arrangements with biological fathers and other male relatives on current school enrolment in Lesotho. The important question the research poses is whether it is absence of a biological father per se or absence of a second parent that affects child outcomes? Preliminary results suggest that father’s household membership is more important than co-residence. Similar results were found when grandfathers, uncles and adult brothers were included in the analysis. Thus, co-residence with men is generally not good for children’s schooling, marking household division of labour.

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Presented in Poster Session 6