AIDS, Orphans, Crime, & Instability

Download AIDS, Orphans, Crime, and Instability, a paper written with Robyn Pharoah.

From the Introduction:

Some researchers and practitioners are linking orphaning to crime and instability, suggesting that growing numbers of impoverished orphans may pose a threat to individual and communal security in some countries. They paint alarming images of economically, politically, and socially disenfranchised hordes of youngsters wreaking havoc on the AIDS-ravaged communities of the future. Such imagery has gained substantial currency over the last five years and, despite a scarcity of empirical data, few discussions on the effects of HIV/AIDS now fail to mention the seemingly common-sense connection between rising numbers of children orphaned by AIDS and increasing levels of crime and conflict.

From the Conclusion:

If we see children only as helpless victims, we risk ignoring the need to provide more than just humanitarian aid. Growing numbers of poor children will require both material and psycho-social support, while youth majorities will demand complex political and economic inclusion and participation. If we see them only as potential perpetrators of violence, we risk not only depriving them of such support and involvement, but we also ignore the extraordinary potential for positive change that young people possess.