Orphan and vulnerable (OVC) children are children that are susceptible to various types of physiological, psychological and social problems. A qualitative research was conducted to assess the situation of orphans and vulnerable children in four woredas and two towns of Jimma Zone, Southwest Ethiopia. 21 focus group discussions and 29 key informant interviews were conducted to collect data required for the study. The data collected were analyzed using thematic analysis. The study revealed that OVC are vulnerable to malnutrition, poor hygiene, child sexual abuse, drug use, child labor exploitation. Moreover, they have little/no access to essential social services such as health, education and housing. The finding of the study also revealed that non-governmental organizations operating in the areas have been supporting very few children with educational materials, health care cost and food. The supports being offered by the non-governmental organizations were insufficient, intermittent, duplicated and limited to few children in terms of their coverage. Consequently, a number of OVC are still in a difficult situation and seek immediate attention. Thus, strengthening families’/guardian’s economic capacity through income generating activities, social and emotional inclusive support programs, inter-organizational coordination, launching institutional care/ promoting local adoption for the abandoned and orphans were recommended based on the findings.
Key words: Jimma zone, child, orphan and vulnerable children, vulnerability.
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