Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Context matters: fostering, orphanhood and schooling in Sub-Saharan Africa

Hampshire, Kate; Porter, Gina; Agblorti, Samuel; Robson, Elsbeth; Munthali, Alister; Abane, Albert

Context matters: fostering, orphanhood and schooling in Sub-Saharan Africa Thumbnail


Gina Porter

Samuel Agblorti

Elsbeth Robson

Alister Munthali

Albert Abane


A growing body of research suggests that orphanhood and fostering might be (independently) associated with educational disadvantage in sub-Saharan Africa. However, literature on the impacts of orphanhood and fostering on school enrolment, attendance and progress produces equivocal, and often conflicting, results. This paper reports on quantitative and qualitative data from sixteen field-sites in Ghana and Malawi, highlighting the importance of historical and social context in shaping schooling outcomes for fostered and orphaned children. In Malawi, which has been particularly badly affected by AIDS, orphans were less likely to be enrolled in and attending school than other children. By contrast, in Ghana, with its long tradition of ‘kinship fostering’, orphans were not significantly educationally disadvantaged; instead, non-orphaned, purposively fostered children had lower school enrolment and attendance than their peers. Understanding the context of orphanhood and fostering in relation to schooling is crucial in achieving ‘Education for All’.


Hampshire, K., Porter, G., Agblorti, S., Robson, E., Munthali, A., & Abane, A. (2015). Context matters: fostering, orphanhood and schooling in Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Biosocial Science, 47(02), 141-164.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 4, 2014
Online Publication Date May 1, 2014
Publication Date Mar 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jul 16, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jul 17, 2014
Journal Journal of Biosocial Science
Print ISSN 0021-9320
Electronic ISSN 1469-7599
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Issue 02
Pages 141-164


You might also like

Downloadable Citations