Findings: Phase 1

   Key Finding 1

Among the 300 randomly selected households caring for orphans, the majority are very poor: only 7% have running water, 9% have electricity, and 43% are temporary housing, generally made of mud and wattle. The guardians or heads of household in 75% had either only primary level, or no, formal education.


   Key Finding 2

We identified three different models of Charitable Children’s Institutions (CCI’s) in Uasin Gishu: ‘Dormitory style’, ‘Single family style’, and ‘Village style’. The dormitory style ones are generally operated as an institution, with a manager, cook, security, and teacher. The children generally queue for food and eat together, but on a first-come, first-served basis.


   Key Finding 3

Single family CCI’s are operated out of a (large) single family dwelling, headed generally by a husband-wife couple, with the children living there sleeping in rooms grouped by age and gender.Village style CCI’s are composed of several smaller ‘single family’ units, often living in traditional African style huts, grouped by family, with each ‘family’ generally headed by a husband-wife unit. Many have their own biological children living with them, together with the 15-20 orphans living with them. Each family unit cooks independently and eats together as a family. In both single-family and village style CCI’s, the children living in them refer to the ‘house parents’ as ‘mum’ and ‘dad’, and the children they share their houses with as siblings.


   Key Finding 4

In general, and in spite of the fact that most children living in CCI’s were placed there because of extreme deprivation, abandonment, or severe child abuse or other neglect in the places they were coming from, we could find no statistical differences in nutritional status (body mass index, weight for age), the likelihood of having post-traumatic stress disorder, ever having had sex, or having experienced child abuse or neglect, comparing children living in the CCI’s compared to those living with extended family.


   Key Finding 5 

Children living with extended family 2.6 times more likely to be stunted for their age (a measure of chronic malnutrition), and twice as likely to have exchanged sex for food, money or other goods, and twice as likely to have been forced into sex.


   Key Finding 6

Children living in the CCI’s were much more likely to have their basic rights as children respected: 95% vs. 17% in the households had the basic material possessions of one pair of shoes, a blanket, and two pairs of non-school going uniforms; 58% vs. 6% had a private drawer or cabinet in which to keep their personal things; 75% of the CCI’s had books and games available, and scheduled leisure and play time for the children, compared to <10% of the households. In short, our findings are that the children living in institutional environments in this region of Kenya are generally doing better, and certainly no worse, than children living with extended family in the community.

Running water: 7%

Among the 300 randomly selected households caring for orphans, only 7% have running water.

 

Temporary housing: 43%

Among the 300 randomly selected households caring for orphans, 43% live in temporary housing, generally made of mud and wattle.

Electricity: 9%

Among the 300 randomly selected households caring for orphans, only 9% have electricity.

 

Limited formal education: 75%

Among the 300 randomly selected households caring for orphans, the guardians or heads of household in 75% had either only primary level, or no, formal education.