Empowering caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children in Swaziland
This paper reports on the health and psychosocial impacts of a programme designed to economically empower female caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). The results presented are from a cohort of 492 female caregivers who participated in savings groups and were responsible for 887 OVC. The data showed that the caregivers had increased earnings, borrowed more, repaid their loans, and expanded their businesses. Important health impacts were found for both the caregivers and the OVC. Access to health care increased and the proportion of OVC and caregivers who reported being too ill to take part in daily activities decreased. Results showed that WORTH savings group members increased their financial resources and used them to improve the wellbeing of OVC in their care. The economic and social empowerment had a positive impact on child protection, child wellbeing and health.
Keywords: empowerment, financial inclusion, integrated development, savings groups