Examining the impact of orphan hood on school leaving among children aged 6-19 in Rwanda and Zambia

Minki Chatterji, Futures Group International
Nancy Murray, Futures Group International
Leanne Dougherty, Futures Group International
Tom Ventimiglia, Project Concern International
Antoinette Mukaneza, CARE
Kathy Buek, Futures Group Europe
William Winfrey, Futures Group International
Joseph Amon, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)

Family dynamics and family structure theory suggest that familial disruption increase the probability that youth will engage in risky behaviors. However, results from research on the impact of orphanhood on educational outcomes has been contradictory. We investigate whether changes in family structure, specifically transition into orphanhood, put children aged 6-19 at a higher risk of leaving school in Rwanda and Zambia. We examine our data, collected by the USAID-funded Community REACH project in June-December 2003, by using a discrete time hazard model. Our multivariate model also includes time-varying covariates related to the family structure of the child (parents survival status and years since death of parent). Our findings demonstrate that socio-economic status of the household, relationship to caregiver, and orphanhood status, particularly for boys, are important predictors of school leaving.

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Presented in Poster Session 2