Money is pouring into Africa to support projects that
address the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but there have been few empirical
studies to determine whether those efforts are improving
the well-being of orphaned and vulnerable children.
Our cross-cultural research team used quantitative
and qualitative methods to assess the well-being of 209 children
living in Idweli. The children were divided into four sample groups:
- 51 orphans who lived
in the center
- 40 orphans who lost
both parents and lived with caregivers
- 99 Non-orphans who
lived with both parents
- 19 orphans and non-orphans
who lived in households that received microfinance loans*
Survey instruments assessed the extent of the children’s
depression and anxiety; their self-esteem and attachments to social
support networks; behaviors toward their caregivers; physical health;
and school performance. Data provided a picture of the children’s
sense of their own well-being and of adults’ thoughts about
the difficulties of caring for village children and the support
they are able to provide.
Finally, we sought feedback from Idweli residents
about the process used to involve villagers in planning and developing
the center, and their satisfaction with the results.
We asked village elders to describe the extent of the village’s
current support for the project and the likelihood that it can be
sustained over time.