Orphan Status and School Enrollment in Rural Western Kenya

Bernard O. Onyango, Brown University

In the last few decades the HIV/AIDS pandemic Sub-Saharan Africa has increased interest in children’s well being in this region. Using data from the Kisumu Health and Demographic Surveillance System (KHDSS) in Rural Western Kenya, I investigate the relationship between orphan status and primary school enrollment in a setting where the government has recently instituted a policy to provide free primary education expected to benefit all children. However, it is possible that the unique lived experience of orphans is likely to be an obstacle that diminishes their ability to take advantage of such policies beneficial to their lives. Results of the analysis demonstrate that despite a generally high enrollment rate, orphans are still significantly less likely to be in school net of other variables. The results point to the importance of taking cognizance of special needs when implementing population level policies aimed at the well being of children.

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Presented in Poster Session 7