Our Research Plan

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.

*Some village families received microfinance loans to boost agricultural productivity and enhance their ability to care for orphaned and vulnerable children.