C.4.Mapping Orphan and Vulnerable Children trends in Malawi
Lockwood and S.Seinfeld, Catholic Relief Services
Objectives and Scope: This paper analyzes data from various datasets over the past five years to identify changing trends in orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) and their vulnerabilities in Malawi.
Methodology: An extensive literature review was employed to assess the current status of OVC in Malawi. Secondary data analyses were conducted on various datasets from within Malawi to examine changing trends in single orphan, double orphan and child-headed households (CHH).
Results: Data demonstrates that approximately 30% of households in Malawi host orphans, with an increasing percentage of these orphans being double orphans. However, while much has been written on the existence and vulnerability of CHH, data shows fewer CHH than previously estimated. Demographic analyses of CHH demonstrate the majority are composed of single orphans (deceased mothers; fathers living outside the household). Data also demonstrates orphans are significantly less likely to be enrolled in school. Asset poor households are significantly more likely to host OVC, and households with OVC exhibit decreased coping strategies.
Conclusions: Based on low rates of CHH, there appears to be an absorption of childcare at the familial and communal levels, indicating an overall ability to cope with the influx of additional children in the household. However, with the decreased coping strategies and the decreasing enrollment of OVC in school, it becomes apparent that this increasing dependency ratio is having an adverse effect on the hosting households. As the number of double orphans is increasing over time, there is an increased need to focus on reinforcing the familial and communal structures to ensure that these structures can continue to cope with the increasing OVC situation without decreasing their coping strategies further, which could further exacerbate the HIV prevalence rate in Malawi.