Previous studies note a positive relationship between female-headed households (FHHs) and poverty in urban and rural areas of Botswana. To explore this further, data were collected from 7 FHHs through participant observation and open-ended interviews. A secondary analysis of data described the quality of life (QOL) of members of the households according to one's ability to meet basic human needs (food, water, shelter, safety, and health). FHHs ranged in age from 40-91 years, with family size ranging from 1-11 members. Monthly income for 6 of the 7 families was $30 (U.S.) per month or less. Physical living environments were overcrowded, with poorly maintained latrines and unsafe refuse disposal. Family illnesses included hypertension, cataracts, mental illness, knee pain, ringworm, leg sores, and tonsillitis. Health risk behaviours included unprotected sex, alcohol abuse, and breastfeeding among potentially HIV positive mothers. Although Botswana claims rapidly rising levels of national income after independence, the QOL of FHHs remains poor. We suggest that, to alleviate poverty, governments in developing African countries should explore strategies that effectively target families headed by women.