Abstract: Children Development Accounts (CDAs) in Uganda: Opportunities for Education (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

12626 Children Development Accounts (CDAs) in Uganda: Opportunities for Education

Thursday, January 14, 2010: 4:30 PM
Pacific Concourse N (Hyatt Regency)
* noted as presenting author
Jami Curley, PhD , Saint Louis University, Assistant Professor, St. Louis, MO
Fred M. Ssewamala, PhD , Columbia University, Associate Professor, New York, NY
Han Chang Keun, PhD , National University of Singapore, Assistant Professor, Singapore, Singapore
Background and Purpose: Due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, 12 million children have become orphans by losing one or both parents (UNICEF, 2008). The responsibility for these children have overwhelmed extended family members who traditionally care for the orphans. The unfortunate result is many of the orphans dropout of school to care for their smaller siblings and try to find jobs. However, lack of experience and age often leads them to employment that exposes them to crime, drugs and prostitution which leaves them vulnerable, again, to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

This paper describes a family asset-based intervention research project in Uganda, Africa that provides orphans with matched savings accounts know as Children Development Accounts (CDAs) to help them save money to pay for secondary school. For this study, we hypothesize that CDAs will positively influence the three educational outcomes: grades, education aspirations, and the confidence of educational planning.

Methods: The sampling frame for this study was 15 rural primary schools located in the Rakai District of Uganda, one of the districts hardest hit by HIV/AIDs in the country. The population was children in the 6th and 7th grade who had been orphaned as a result of AIDS. Each of the schools were randomly assigned to either the experimental or the control group. A total of 286 orphaned children were selected. The experimental group had 138 children from 9 schools, while the control group had 148 children from the remaining 6 schools.

The study uses longitudinal data from two points in time -- data collected at baseline/pre- intervention and 10 months following intervention. Using logit ordinal regression, the influence of the program on educational plans and the level of confidence at Wave 2 controlling for covariates and educational plans and level of confidence at Wave 1 was tested. In addition, an OLS regression model was conducted to examine the extent to which participation in the economic empowerment program influences educational performance among children in the study.

Results: The results of the project indicate children are saving and they have a stronger orientation to the future and higher confidence levels about their future plans compared to their counterparts who were not given the intervention.

Conclusions and Implications: The results of this have a strong potential to help shape and influence policy in developing countries concerned with trying to found strategies to help keep orphans and other vulnerable children in school. The results provide support for the implementation of broader CDA programs in Uganda and other developing countries. CDAs could be part of a multi-dimensional government development plan to help off-set the cost of comprehensive education and increase educational opportunities for disadvantaged children whose families can not meet the expenses of other available educational options. However, More research is needed to determine the right combination of program features and other intervention details.