Non-Governmental Organizations and AIDS Orphans in Nairobi and Kampala.
Franz, Jessica M.
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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) have proliferated in Sub-Saharan Africa to such a disastrous extent that the problem has been labeled pandemic in nature. Despite this prevalence, however, religious, cultural, and political taboos associated with the transmission of the virus have until recently made most African governments shy away from responsibility in caring for victims or educating populations. Families, too, have become overburdened, especially as parents are dying and leaving multiple orphans in the hands of often-elderly grandparents. As a result, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have absorbed and co-opted these responsibilities into their scope of duties, both replacing traditional family structures and providing general welfare, healthcare, education, and a means of subsistence for those orphaned by the virus. While national governments are at times restrained by finances and perceived cultural taboos, NGOs have the advantage of working outside of governmental parameters, and of finding their own solutions. Through formal and informal interviews with directors of NGOs, a coalition of NGOs in Nairobi, and with the orphans themselves, I will study the various approaches and roles non-governmental organizations have had and presently have in the crisis of AIDS orphans in Kenya and Uganda, and develop a set of evaluative criteria for successful programs.