Health, Education, and Economic Interventions for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Mozambique

hands and leaves

The HIV/AIDS crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa has left millions of children orphaned, and millions more suffer direct and indirect effects of the crisis. These children, who are potentially infected with HIV themselves, are highly vulnerable and face a number of serious risks to their health and overall well-being. The U.S. Government’s most important programmatic response to the HIV/AIDS crisis is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), initiated in 2003. 

PEPFAR mandates part of its funding be devoted to programs benefiting children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. PEPFAR’s programs for these children take an integrated approach, with interventions at child, family and community levels that target child needs at different developmental stages. These interventions are also connected to other development programs related to education, nutrition and household economic development.

In Mozambique, PEPFAR funding is supporting the newly established Strengthening Family and Community Support to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (SFCS-OVC), which aims to reduce the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS on these children and their caregivers in a five-year program beginning in late 2015. In 2012, 1.6 million people in Mozambique out of a population of 25.2 million were living with HIV. Of these, 200,000 were children aged 14 or below.

Project Summary

Research funded by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access will evaluate SFCS-OVC programs to improve the health and overall outcomes of orphans and vulnerable children in Mozambique. The study will exploit the randomized selection of communities selected across nine districts in central Mozambique for the SFCS-OVC program’s implementation to provide convincing estimates of its causal effects on orphans, vulnerable children and their caregivers. These effects include HIV testing and diagnosis, morbidity and mortality, school attendance and performance and others. 

Another key aspect of this study is to estimate of the economic strengthening component of the SFCS-OVC program, both separately and in interaction with the four community support components. This will be achieved via randomization of the economic strengthening component separately from the community support components. The independent effect of these components, and their interaction, have not previously been estimated.

Anticipated Impacts

This study will provide direct insight into the impact of the community support treatment, the economic strengthening treatment and their interaction can influence future rollout and scale-up of the SFCS-OVC program. This study’s impacts would be most direct in Mozambique, but could also influence the design and implementation of policies across Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the developing world.

This project is funded by USAID Associate Award AID-OAA-LA-16-00004 "Feed the Future Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs that Enhance the Economic Resilience of Vulnerable Populations."