What role for community?: critical reflections on state-driven support for vulnerable children and orphans in South Africa

SOURCE: The Routledge handbook of community development research
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2018
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Marais, K.Rani, C.Sharp, D.Skinner, J.Serekoane, J.Cloete, M.Pappin, M.Lenka
SOURCE EDITOR(S): L.Shevellar, P.Westoby
KEYWORDS: COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION, GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE, HIV/AIDS, ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN (OVC)
DEPARTMENT: Social Aspects of Public Health (SAPH)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10276

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Abstract

The HIV&AIDS; pandemic in South Africa has left behind large numbers of vulnerable children and orphans. Current estimates suggest that 3.7 million children are orphaned and large numbers of non-orphaned children are vulnerable because of poverty (Skinner et al., 2006). Worldwide, attention has turned to community-based care as a means of supporting such children. In line with this trend, the South African government, mainly through the Department of Social Development (DSD), funds a range of community-based organisations (CBOs)1 to provide services to these children. This chapter critically assesses these programs. We argue that the government's funding policy often ignores the role of community and community development. CBOs are commonly seen as an extension of government, and we would suggest, as a cheap extension of government (in the sense of cost-cutting efficiencies). This is a direct result of the fact that the South African government is funding these organisations. We consider the power relationship between CBOs and government (mainly in terms of what government expects and how the CBOs react), the extent to which government guidelines are adhered to by the CBOs, and the mismatch between government and CBO approaches.