n Mousaion - Information needs and seeking behaviour of orphans and vulnerable children, their caregivers, and service providers in rural regions in Namibia

Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



A big problem in Namibia is the issue of destitute orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), many of whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS related illnesses. This study sought to examine the information needs of OVC and their caregivers and their information seeking strategies in managing the OVC situation in Namibia. Both qualitative and quantitative survey research methods were employed. Questionnaires were posted to various service providers, while interviews were conducted with OVC and their caregivers. Focus group discussions were also used for caregivers and informants in order to collect data on the respondents' general attitudes, feelings, beliefs, experiences and reactions. The study took place in the rural Ohangwena region in January 2009 and urban Khomas region in April 2009. The preliminary findings indicated that there was a higher school dropout rate among rural OVC. Both rural and urban OVC expressed the need for financial assistance or grants, child care support, feeding schemes and health services as their top priorities. The rural OVC said they required information about school development fund exemptions, financial assistance or grants, health services, childcare support, and training opportunities. The urban OVC expressed the same priorities except for counselling, which was added to their list instead of training opportunities. Both the rural and urban OVC stated that they consulted relatives, teachers and friends for advice or information, thus indicating that interpersonal sources of information were the most important source of information. The study provided useful information for interventions and further research.

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