HOW ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN (OVC) ACCESS CARE, WHO SUPPORTS THEM AND HOW IN EMBU COUNTY
Purpose: To establish how orphans and vulnerable children access care, who supports them and how in Embu County.
Methods: This study adopted a descriptive research design. The study aimed at interviewing the 3 managers in NGO programs dealing with orphans, 7 chairpersons from CBO, FBO or a SHG supporting orphans, 5 additional group members and 20 caregivers, holding 2 focus group discussions and 4 case studies. The study used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The responses to every question in the filled questionnaires from the respondents were edited, tabulated, analyzed and computed to percentages by use of a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0. Descriptive statistics such as mode, mean, percentages, standard deviations and correlation coefficients were computed and information presented in form of tables and frequency distributions.
Results: The study found that orphans do not always receive good care and support from their guardians and relatives. Many of them are living in absolute poverty and poor housing. Lack of parental care and guidance leads many of them to leave home to become street children. There is also an indication that OVC are sexually abused while some boys are used as cheap labour. It is clear from the study that the extended family system is disintegrating and households are becoming ‘nuclear family centered’, caring only for their children and no other relatives. Property grabbing from orphans is another area of concern.
Unique contribution to theory, practice and policy: The study recommended that government should use this model to sensitize other communities to take care of orphans in their localities. This would contribute to making OVC care sustainable.
Key Words: Orphans, vulnerable, children, care and access
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