The education sectors' responses to the needs and vulnerabilities of children affected by HIV/AIDS

Case Studies & Research
64 p.

Education is a crucial factor in the development of a child. In the light of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, education has become even more vital. The paradox, nevertheless, is that the pandemic has constrained school attendance, as well as school performance. The purpose of this study was to establish to what extent primary school-aged children affected by HIV/AIDS (CABA) are educationally affected, as well as to find out how the education sector is responding to the problems CABA face. Through the recommendations, the research findings are to mobilize relevant offices and organizations to assist these children. The research was conducted in Bondo district, Kenya, where, in 2005, of all 73,543 primary school children enrolled, 36,762 were orphaned, of which 19,664 were double orphans. Data were obtained by interviews with teachers and education officials, as well as by focus group discussions (FGDs) with teachers. A total of 24 interviews and 5 FGDs took place. The study focussed on problems related to poverty, stigma, bereavement, and adult roles. Poverty was perceived to be the major problem. Poverty not only causes the bulk of problems, it also hampers interventions to deal with them. If poverty could be minimized, the problems related to them, as well as the carrying out of adult roles by children could be dealt with. Guidance and counselling, sensitization, and awareness creation can in turn mitigate the psychological and behavioural problems CABA face, as well as the HIV/AIDS related stigma.

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