Orphan Vulnerability, NGOs and HIV/AIDS in Ghana
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Anthropology Honors Theses; 2011
This study explores orphan vulnerability following the rise in HIV/AIDS and the institutionalization of orphanages in Ghana, West Africa. Using traditional anthropological methods, including participant observation and interviews, I argue that institutionalized care and high rates of HIV/AIDS increases hardships and vulnerabilities for orphans even as funding agencies and NGOs continue to channel resources to orphanages in the country. The institutionalization of orphan care undermines Ghana's matrilineal kinship system and does not provide social support. In effect, orphans in institutionalized care lack dynamic social identities and matrilineal networks leaving potentially vulnerable to neglect and exploitation. Ghana has brought attention to this problem through the Orphan and Vulnerable Children Care Reform Initiative of 2006. This initiative seeks to provide more opportunities for institutionalized orphans by decreasing orphanage enrollment and increasing kinship care, however the lack of organization, research and preparedness is harming those they wish to help.