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

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 Health67(3), 225-230. BMJ Journals

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 care28(3), 273-282. Taylor & Francis Online

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 care24(10), 1226-1232. Taylor & Francis Online

Karimli, L., & Ssewamala, F. M. (2015). Do savings mediate changes in adolescents’ future orientation and health-related outcomes? Findings from randomized experiment in Uganda. Journal of Adolescent Health57(4), 425-432. 

Karimli, L., Ssewamala, F. M., & Neilands, T. B. (2014). Poor families striving to save in matched children’s savings accounts: Findings from a randomized experimental design in Uganda. Social Service Review88(4), 658-694. University of Chicago

Karimli, L., Ssewamala, F. M., Neilands, T. B., & McKay, M. M. (2015). Matched child savings accounts in low-resource communities: Who saves?. Global Social Welfare2(2), 53-64. Springer

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 review44, 417-421. Science Direct

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 studies13(3), 228-238. Taylor & Francis Online

Ssewamala, F. M., Karimli, L., Torsten, N., Wang, J. S. H., Han, C. K., Ilic, V., & Nabunya, P. (2016). 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 Science17(1), 134-143. 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 welfare24(3), 248-262. Wiley

Wang, J. S. H., Ssewamala, F. M., & Han, C. K. (2014). Family economic strengthening and mental health functioning of caregivers for AIDS-affected children in rural Uganda. Vulnerable children and youth studies9(3), 258-269. Taylor & Francis Online