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An exploration of the concerns and motivations of community caregivers working with children in adversity.

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The deadly HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of the major developmental challenges facing our nation. Community caregivers (CCGs) play a significant role in addressing the psychosocial needs of orphan and vulnerable children (OVC); however, little attention has been paid to the work and experiences of CCGs. In an endeavour to increase our understanding of their lived experiences, this research qualitatively explored the concerns and motivations experienced by CCGs who work on a daily basis with children in circumstances of extreme adversity, specifically those affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. This study draws on the ecological theory of Bronfrenbrenner (1979) to provide a conceptual framework in which to consider the working circumstances of CCGs. Methodologically, focus group discussions were used as the primary source of data collection. Focus groups were conducted with CCGs from three different non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who provide psychosocial support to children affected by HIV/AIDS. The research found that CCGs are passionate about providing holistic care to the children, families and communities in which they work and they experience a variety of concerns about the way in which services are provided and how funding agendas drive the nature of the work and the manner of monitoring and evaluation. They also experience joy and satisfaction in what they do. Limitations and suggestions for future studies are noted, with the aim being for NGOs to acknowledge the concerns and motives and to develop and implement programmes to support staff, and maintain the resilience needed for CCGs to be even more effective in contributing towards providing meaningful services in the difficult circumstance in which they work.


Thesis (M.Soc.Sci.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2010.


Caregivers--South Africa., Child caregivers--South Africa., Theses--Psychology.