In 2008, the SADC Secretariat undertook a study to assess and analyse vulnerabilities affecting orphans, vulnerable children, and youth within the SADC region. Its intention was to review existing strategies for addressing these issues and develop minimum standards for future programmes and projects. Based on extensive qualitative respondent interviews throughout 14 SADC Member States, this report details the results of that study and offers recommendations moving forward.
The study found extensive deprivation among orphans, vulnerable children, and youth, with high incidence of child mortality, sexual exploitation, HIV infection, and lack of education or adult guidance. While policies that address these vulnerabilities already exist, the study found them to be poorly implemented and scattered among disparate legal frameworks. In order to combat these issues, the study recommends that SADC implement international conventions, such as the African Youth Charter, and develop a policy framework that sets out minimum standards for care of orphans, vulnerable children, and youth in the SADC region.