A family-based economic empowerment model for orphaned children in Uganda

Study Title: A family-based economic empowerment model for orphaned children in Uganda

Study Aims: The overall goal of this R34 is to further develop and examine a family economic empowerment intervention, called SUUBI-MAKA, that creates economic opportunities for families in Uganda who are caring for children orphaned due to the AIDS pandemic, and to lay the groundwork for an R01. The study has two specific aims: (1) To conduct formative work in order to understand children and families’ ability and interest in participating in a family-level economic empowerment intervention focused on savings and family income generation, and their response to this family-focused economic empowerment approach alongside additional intervention components, including savings for youth education and adult mentorship. (2) Based on formative data (Aim #1), to adapt the intervention and examine issues related to feasibility and preliminary outcome on a small scale in order to prepare for a larger study. The intervention, SUUBI-MAKA, uses a novel approach by focusing on economic empowerment of families caring for children orphaned due to AIDS. The intervention has three key components: (1) it promotes family-level income generating projects (micro-enterprises) which we believe will enhance economic stability, reduce poverty, and enhance protective family processes for youth orphaned by AIDS. (2) It promotes monetary savings for educational opportunities for AIDS-orphaned children. (3) It provides an adult mentor to children.

Methods: The intervention will be evaluated via a two-group randomized trial. The two groups are: SUUBI-MAKA or Usual care for orphaned children. The participating children will be nested within 20 primary schools that will be randomly assigned such that all children from a particular school receive the same intervention. There will be three assessment points: baseline (pre-test), 12-month, and 24-month post-intervention. The effectiveness of SUUBI-MAKA will be compared with the Usual care on: children’ educational experience, psychosocial development, sexual risk taking, and mental health, caregiver’s attitudes and capacities, and family and caregiving relationships.

Principal Investigator: Fred Ssewamala (Columbia University)

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