Evaluating the impact of community-based interventions on schooling outcomes among orphans and vulnerable children in Lusaka, Zambia
Author(s): Chatterji M, Hutchinson P, Buek K, Murray N, Mulenga Y, Ventimiglia T
This journal article appears in Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies,5(2):130–141. In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 12 million children under the age of 18 have lost a parent to acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Despite this situation, the evidence regarding effectiveness of interventions targeting these children remains scant. This article contributes to the literature by evaluating the impact of a community-based program implemented by a Zambian non-governmental organization on educational outcomes among orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Lusaka, Zambia. These outcomes included school enrollment and being at the correct age-for-grade. Our study design included two rounds of post-intervention data collection in 2003 and 2006; 2302 children aged 6–19 years were interviewed in 2003, and 3105 children aged 8–22 years were interviewed in 2006. We used a subsample of 2922 OVC aged 8–19 years. The effectiveness of Bwafwano was evaluated first using the individual cross-sectional samples and then using a difference-in-differences model on the pooled sample. Both crosssectional analyses found positive and statistically significant effects of the intervention on school enrollment, with marginal effects of 0.104 and 0.168, respectively. The difference-in-differences estimates for school enrollment were positive, but small and not statistically significant. For the estimations of the effects of Bwafwano on the outcome of appropriate age-for-grade, only the difference-in-differences models showed positive program effect, with participation in the program being associated with a 15.7% increase in appropriate age-for-grade for intervention children relative to control children. This study suggests that the Bwafwano program is a promising approach to improving educational outcomes among OVC in urban Zambia.
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