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Country analysis > Zimbabwe Last update: 2020-11-27  

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A Study of Child-Headed Households on Commercial Farms in Zimbabwe

"We feel sad, we miss our parents"
- Washington, aged 15

1. Introduction
Farm Orphan Support Trust of Zimbabwe (FOST) is a local non-governmental organisation (NGO), established in 1997 and registered with the Government of Zimbabwe (PVO 3/97). FOSTs programmes are aimed at proactively increasing the capacity of communities on commercial farms in Zimbabwe to respond to the orphan crisis.

Over the past few years FOST has become aware that child headed households (child headed household) are a small but increasing phenomena on commercial farms and that these households are especially vulnerable due to the unique nature of farm worker communities. This vulnerability is linked to the fact that housing on commercial farms is often tied to a job and that orphaned children do not necessarily have the right to remain in the 'home" after the parent has passed away. The fact that many farmers have been prepared to allow child headed household to remain on the farm has been encouraging, but FOST felt that it was necessary to understand more about these families, their problems and coping strategies and analyse how the organisation can most appropriately help and support these children.

This small study is a result of this wish to understand more fully the circumstances of child headed households and the hope that effective interventions can be developed to support these most vulnerable of children.

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