Effects of parental HIV on children’s education: a qualitative study at Mashambanzou Zimbabwe

Case Studies & Research
p. 1-26
Periodical title
Review of Social Economy

We investigate mechanisms that influence the effects of parental HIV on the education of children. The study was conducted at Mashambanzou Care Trust in Harare, Zimbabwe. We sampled low-income HIV-positive and HIV-negative mothers who had a total of 71 children in their care. HIV-positive mothers were on treatment and women in the sample had at least one school-going child. We use a framework that describes the channels that influence the direct and indirect effects of the HIV status of a parent on investments in their children’s education. We find that the main reported mechanisms that influence this relationship are financial barriers exacerbated by HIV, children taking care of sick parents or siblings (child carers), and gender-differences in how parental illness affects children. In addition, we find that children of HIV-positive mothers do not always have birth certificates, which is a major barrier to school and exam registration in Zimbabwe.

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