Principal Investigator: Fred Ssewamala, PhD

The overall goal of this study was to develop and examine a family economic empowerment intervention, called SUUBI-MAKA, that creates economic opportunities for families in Uganda who are caring for children orphaned due to the AIDS pandemic.

The study had two specific aims:

Aim 1: To conduct formative work in order 

to understand children and families’ ability and interest in participating in a family-level economic empowerment intervention focused on savings and family income generation, and their response to this family-focused economic empowerment approach alongside additional intervention components, including savings for youth education and adult mentorship.

Aim 2: Based on formative data (Aim #1), to adapt the intervention and examine issues related to feasibility and preliminary outcome on a small scale in order to prepare for a larger study. The intervention, SUUBI-MAKA, uses a novel approach by focusing on economic empowerment of families caring for children orphaned due to AIDS.

The intervention has three key components: (1) it promotes family-level income generating projects (micro-enterprises) which we believe will enhance economic stability, reduce poverty, and enhance protective family processes for youth orphaned by AIDS. (2) It promotes monetary savings for educational opportunities for AIDS-orphaned children. (3) It provides an adult mentor to children. The intervention will be evaluated via a two-group randomized trial. The two groups were: SUUBI-MAKA or Usual care for orphaned children. The participating children were nested within 20 primary schools that were randomly assigned such that all children from a particular school receive the same intervention. There were three assessment points: baseline (pre-test), 12-month, and 24-month post-intervention. The effectiveness of SUUBI-MAKA was compared with the Usual care on: children’ educational experience, psychosocial development, sexual risk taking, and mental health, caregiver’s attitudes and capacities, and family and caregiving relationships.

SUUBI Maka Publications

Nattabi J, Nabunya P, Kizito S, Nabayinda J, Kiyingi J, Ssewamala F. The Impact of Parent-Adolescent Communication on Reduction of Sexual Risk Possibility Among Adolescents: Findings from the Suubi-Maka Study. Arch Sex Behav. 2023 Jun 22. doi: 10.1007/s10508-023-02639-x. Springer

Tutlam NT, Filiatreau LM, Byansi W, Brathwaite R, Nabunya P, Sensoy Bahar O, Ssewamala FM. The Impact of Family Economic Empowerment Intervention on Psychological Difficulties and Prosocial Behavior among AIDS-orphaned children in southern Uganda. J Adolesc Health. 2023 May;72(5S):S51-S58. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2023.01.002. Science Direct

Nabunya, P., Curley, J., & Ssewamala, F. M. (2021). Gender norms, beliefs and academic achievement of orphaned adolescent boys and girls in Uganda. The Journal of Genetic Psychology. Online ahead of print. Taylor & Francis Online

Mayo-Wilson, L. J., & Ssewamala, F. M. (2019). Financial and behavioral economic factors associated with HIV testing in AIDS-affected adolescents in Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 30(1), 339-357. PubMed

Nyoni, T., Nabunya, P., & Ssewamala, F. M. (2019). Perceived social support and psychological wellbeing of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Southwestern Uganda. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 14(4), 1-13. Taylor & Francis Online

Osuji, H. L., Nabunya, P., Byansi, W., Parchment, T. M., Ssewamala, F., McKay, M. M., & Huang, K. Y. (2018). Social support and school outcomes of adolescents orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS living in South Western Uganda. Vulnerable children and youth studies, 13(3), 228-238. Taylor & Francis Online

Jennings, L., Ssewamala, F. M., & Nabunya, P. (2016). Effect of savings-led economic empowerment on HIV preventive practices among orphaned adolescents in rural Uganda: results from the Suubi-Maka randomized experiment. AIDS Care, 28(3), 273-282. Taylor & Francis Online

Ssewamala, F. M., Karimli, L., Torsten, N., Wang, J. S. H., Han, C. K., Ilic, V., & Nabunya, P. (2015). Applying a family-level economic strengthening intervention to improve education and health-related outcomes of school-going AIDS-orphaned children: lessons from a randomized experiment in Southern Uganda. Prevention Science, 17(1), 134-143. Springer

Karimli L, Ssewamala FM. Do Savings Mediate Changes in Adolescents’ Future Orientation and Health-Related Outcomes? Findings From Randomized Experiment in Uganda. J Adolesc Health. 2015 Oct;57(4):425-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.06.011. Science Direct

Karimli, L., Ssewamala, F. M., Neilands, T. B., & McKay, M. M. (2015). Matched child savings accounts in low-resource communities: Who saves?. Global Social Welfare, 2(2), 53-64. Springer

Ssewamala, F. M. (2015). Optimizing the “demographic dividend” in young developing countries: The role of contractual savings and insurance for financing education. International journal of social welfare, 24(3), 248-262. Wiley

Karimli L, Ssewamala FM, Neilands TB. Poor Families Striving to Save in Matched Children’s Savings Accounts: Findings from a Randomized Experimental Design in Uganda. Soc Serv Rev. 2014 Dec;88(4):658-694. doi: 10.1086/679256. PubMed

Nabunya, P., Ssewamala, F. M., & Ilic, V. (2014). Family economic strengthening and parenting stress among caregivers of AIDS-orphaned children: Results from a cluster randomized clinical trial in Uganda. Children and youth services review, 44, 417-421. Science Direct

Wang JS, Ssewamala FM, Han CK. Family economic strengthening and mental health functioning of caregivers for AIDS-affected children in rural Uganda. Vulnerable Child Youth Stud. 2014;9(3):258-269. doi: 10.1080/17450128.2014.920119. PubMed

Han, C. K., Ssewamala, F. M., & Wang, J. S. H. (2013). Family economic empowerment and mental health among AIDS-affected children living in AIDS-impacted communities: evidence from a randomised evaluation in southwestern Uganda. J Epidemiol Community Health, 67(3), 225-230. BMJ Journals

Kagotho, N., & Ssewamala, F. M. (2012). Correlates of depression among caregivers of children affected by HIV/AIDS in Uganda: Findings from the Suubi-Maka Family Study. AIDS care, 24(10), 1226-1232. Taylor & Francis Online