The capacity needs of extended family and community members in the care and support of orphans and vulnerable children in uMgungundlovu and uThukela districts.
The aim of this study was to explore and describe experiences and capacity needs of extended family and community members that care for and support orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in UMgungundlovu and uThukela districts. This study was qualitative in nature and was guided by bio-ecological theoretical framework. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 45 participants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four focus group discussions. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenology Analysis. The results indicate that the capacity needs of extended family and community members to care for OVC was remarkably weak; OVC caregivers face numerous challenges such as providing basic material needs, educational needs and emotional needs albeit with limited financial and emotional support. Government social grants were identified as the main source of income although they were regarded as grossly insufficient. The study found that motivation to care for OVC for extended family was based on responsibility embedded in traditional childcare arrangement, while for community members emanated from love and compassion. The study further highlighted ways in which extended family and community members would like to be assisted in order to strengthen their capacity to care for and support OVC. This study provide firstly a new perspective on what it means to be an OVC caregiver and secondly a baseline for further studies to be pursued on a larger scale in the majority, if not all provinces of South Africa.