A comparative analysis of impact of alternative care approaches on psychosocial wellbeing of orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) in Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe the AIDS pandemic and various other macroeconomic challenges have resulted in the creation of large numbers of orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC). Systems of care and psychosocial support for the 0VC common in Zimbabwe include the dormitory, the community-based and the household models. Utilising a comparative approach, the study sought to assess the impact of these alternative care and support approaches on the psychosocial wellbeing of OVC in Zimbabwe. The study utilised a structured questionnaire to gather data from three institutions that were using the three different models of children care. Institution A used the household model; institution B, the dormitory approach, while setting C promoted the community-based model. Data were collected using the ‘Ask the Expert Psychosocial Wellbeing Quality Tool’. The results indicated that the community and household-based models were more effective alternatives in respect of enhancing the psychosocial wellbeing of orphans and other vulnerable children, when compared with the dormitory model. The two approaches provided a social environment which was more conducive for the vulnerable children to lead happier, less stigmatised lives in which they more easily made friends and felt safe and secure. The dormitory model, on the other hand, provided an environment detrimental to promotion of the children’s psychosocial wellbeing.
Keywords: Psychosocial, dormitory, community-based approach, household, children, Zimbabwe