“The Luggage that isn’t Theirs is Too Heavy…”: Understandings of Orphan Disadvantage in Lesotho

“The Luggage that isn’t Theirs is Too Heavy…”: Understandings of Orphan Disadvantage in... In Southern Africa, high adult HIV prevalence has fueled concern about the welfare of children losing parents to the epidemic. A growing body of evidence indicates that parental, particularly maternal, death is negatively associated with child outcomes. However, a better understanding of the mechanisms is needed. In addition, the way orphan disadvantage and the mechanisms giving rise to it are understood on the ground is essential for the successful translation of research into policies and programs. This study employs data from 89 in-depth interviews with caregivers and key informants in Lesotho, a setting where approximately one-quarter of adults is infected with HIV, to elaborate understandings of orphan disadvantage. Our analysis focuses on two questions: (i) Do local actors perceive orphans to be disadvantaged compared to non-orphans, and if so, in what ways; and (ii) How do they explain orphans’ differential disadvantage? Analyses suggest that orphans were widely perceived to be disadvantaged; respondents described this disadvantage in material as well as affective domains. Thematic analyses reveal five broad categories of explanation: poverty, love and kin connection, caregiver character, perceptions of orphans, and community norms related to orphan care. These results underscore the need for research and policy to address (i) multiple types of disadvantage, including deficits in kindness and attention; and (ii) the social embeddedness of disadvantage, recognizing that poverty, kinship, and community interact with individual attributes to shape caregiving relationships and child experiences. The findings suggest limited success for programs and policies that do not address the emotional needs of children, or that focus on child or caregiver support to the exclusion of community outreach. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Population Research and Policy Review Springer Journals

“The Luggage that isn’t Theirs is Too Heavy…”: Understandings of Orphan Disadvantage in Lesotho

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Social Sciences; Demography; Sociology, general; Population Economics
ISSN
0167-5923
eISSN
1573-7829
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11113-011-9223-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In Southern Africa, high adult HIV prevalence has fueled concern about the welfare of children losing parents to the epidemic. A growing body of evidence indicates that parental, particularly maternal, death is negatively associated with child outcomes. However, a better understanding of the mechanisms is needed. In addition, the way orphan disadvantage and the mechanisms giving rise to it are understood on the ground is essential for the successful translation of research into policies and programs. This study employs data from 89 in-depth interviews with caregivers and key informants in Lesotho, a setting where approximately one-quarter of adults is infected with HIV, to elaborate understandings of orphan disadvantage. Our analysis focuses on two questions: (i) Do local actors perceive orphans to be disadvantaged compared to non-orphans, and if so, in what ways; and (ii) How do they explain orphans’ differential disadvantage? Analyses suggest that orphans were widely perceived to be disadvantaged; respondents described this disadvantage in material as well as affective domains. Thematic analyses reveal five broad categories of explanation: poverty, love and kin connection, caregiver character, perceptions of orphans, and community norms related to orphan care. These results underscore the need for research and policy to address (i) multiple types of disadvantage, including deficits in kindness and attention; and (ii) the social embeddedness of disadvantage, recognizing that poverty, kinship, and community interact with individual attributes to shape caregiving relationships and child experiences. The findings suggest limited success for programs and policies that do not address the emotional needs of children, or that focus on child or caregiver support to the exclusion of community outreach.

Journal

Population Research and Policy ReviewSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 15, 2011

References

  • Children, AIDS and the politics of orphan care in Ethiopia: The extended family revisited
    Abebe, T; Aase, A
  • Psychological distress among AIDS orphans in rural Uganda
    Atwine, B; Cantor-Graae, E; Bajunirwe, F
  • Examining the gender gap in nutrition: An example from rural Mexico
    Backstrand, JR; Allen, LH; Pelto, GH; Chavez, A
  • Orphanhood and the living arrangements of children in sub-Saharan Africa
    Beegle, K; Filmer, D; Stokes, A; Tiererova, L
  • Cumulative risk and AIDS-orphanhood: Interactions of stigma, bullying and poverty on child mental health in South Africa
    Cluver, L; Orkin, M

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