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Title: The impact of HIV/AIDS on infected and affected rural primary school children in Zimbabwe : children's perspectives : a case study
Author: Mtimbiri, Siza
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 0606
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Although there has been increasing research on HIV/AIDS and children, albeit mostly outside the school environment, most research in the area tends to view 'children as objects' (Christensen and James, 1999) in the research process whereby the change in the child is what is being observed. This view lessens the role of the child and as such means that the results are inadequate - mostly the researcher's perspective is represented. In Zimbabwe, with an estimated 1.1 million AIDS orphans and 115,000 children under 14 living with HIV/AIDS, not much empirical research has been conducted in school settings where they spend most of their time; the complexities of infected and affected students' experiences within the school-home-community spheres are mostly inferred due to lack of empirical research. Using Bronfenbrenner's Ecological System's Theory and the Capability Approach to adopt a holistic psychosocio-cultural lens, the research aims to understand the experiences of infected and affected students from their perspectives within their school, home and community environments. Added to observations, in-depth interviews based on data collected using photography, drawings, timelines, sociograms and student diaries were conducted with 65 boys and 27 girls aged 10 -13 years from a rural primary school during the months of August to December 2011. In-depth interviews were also conducted with 161 parents and caregivers. Also interviewed were 13 stakeholders comprising of a Senior Research Officer within the Ministry of Education, District Education Officer, 5 Teachers and their Principal, a District Councilor, the Chief, a village head, a local Baptist Minister and a research staff person from, FACT, a local NGO that works with AIDS orphans. Among children, findings point to dilapidating issues of stigma, abandonment, unaddressed emotional and physical needs; children relied on each other's advice more than that of teachers and caregivers. Among the adult community, the education authorities and community leaders who are custodians of their education, ignorance about infected and affected children is astounding. An ageing population of caregivers is barely able to deal with the complexities of infected children. Religion has a powerful negative influence on addressing HIV/AIDS issues. Teachers, citing taboo issues about sex and the fact that HIV/AIDS is not an exam at the school, refused to broach the subject. Education Officials at the time clearly pointed out that there has been no research nor any plans yet to address this population and their needs. Further research will need to be conducted for educational planning that will be most effective in implementing meaningful changes for this group and other rural primary school children.
Supervisor: Opfer, Darleen ; McLaughlin, Colleen Sponsor: Gates Cambridge Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Education ; children ; HIV/AIDS ; HIV Infected ; HIV Affected ; Capability Approach ; Zimbabwe ; Rural ; Africa ; Bronfenbrenner ; microsystem ; mesosystem ; exosystem ; macrosystem ; chronosystem ; Child voice ; Stigma ; Rural Primary School ; Shona ; Ndebele ; Religion ; Vulnerable ; Poverty ; doings ; functionings ; Unterhalter ; Sen