Vulnerability and outcomes of orphan-hood in urban Uganda: The case of Kampala City
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The number of orphans in the world is increasing primarily owing to for example the HIV/AIDS scourge that hinders the achievement of Millennium Development Goals. This study was done to investigate the relative outcomes of vulnerability of orphaned children in Urban Uganda, utilising case of Lubaga Division in Kampala city. The population of study consisted of persons who were directly taking care of orphans in households and children institutions. Primary data were collected using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Quantitative survey tools included questionnaire-guided interviews and checklists. Under the qualitative approach, data were collected using key informant interviews, participant observation, and focus group discussions. Using the stratified random sampling technique, one hundred respondents were selected for the study. Quantitative data were analysed using univariate analysis to assess the distribution and characteristics of orphan hood. Bivariate analysis was made to demonstrate whether there was a relationship between vulnerability and orphan hood; and also whether the children orphaned by HIV/AIDS faced the same vulnerability as children orphaned by other causes. Taped and recorded data were transcribed and analysed using SPSS. Quantitative data were presented in graphs, charts and tables while qualitative data were presented descriptively as reports. Results revealed that most of the orphans were single orphans compared to double orphans. Most homes had more than one orphan. Orphans were most vulnerable to limited basic needs (88%) and least vulnerable to stigmatisation by the society (48%). However, of all vulnerabilities, the most significant impact of orphanhood was deprival of parental love and care (53%) which greatly affected their studies while attainment of basic needs was least significant (15%). Other vulnerabilities included absence of care from authorities, change of homes and lack of control of their parents’ property. Owing to their status, the society generally treated orphans differently with a small proportion of them receiving love and care. Such mistreatment however emerged from relatives who lacked knowledge of orphans’ rights partly attributed to inadequacy of information on children rights. There were NGO efforts to address basic needs of orphans including education, health, counselling and nutrition. However, such efforts were hampered by increasing numbers of orphans. Much as government has created a conducive environment for various stakeholders to support orphans, it rarely fulfils its obligations towards the plight of orphaned children. In spite of the community / care takers’ and NGO efforts to address the rights of orphans, they seem to be overwhelmed by the ever growing number of orphans. Basing on the findings, relevant government and non-government agencies need to adequately invest in raising the awareness of the public about orphans’ rights, equity of all citizens and prioritise and fund child protection policies and interventions. Government and development agencies should adequately support and strengthen capacity of NGOs and institutions mandated to deal with children and orphaned children issues.