Over the last three decades the HIV/AIDS epidemic has touched the life of every Zambian. Many young parents have died, leaving their children in the care of grandparents. The present study is based on field research carried out in Misangwa, a small rural community in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. The focus is on so-called skipped-generation households, households where the younger generation and their older guardian(s), mostly grandparents, live together without any members of the middle generation. These households face high levels of poverty and difficulties in securing livelihoods. The study investigates how members of skipped-generation households in rural Zambia care for each other, and how their interdependence and well-being change over time. It shows that skipped-generation households often go unnoticed, both in the communities where they exist and in the policies of organizations who aim at mitigating the effects of HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, the formation of skipped-generation households is crisis-driven and has little to do with preferences or altruism on the part of those living in these households.

Year of publication: 2014
Series: African Studies Collection
Volume: 52



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Daniel Berend Jan Reijer
Leiden : African Studies Centre