Accepted Paper:

The local negociations of the global status of « orphaned and vulnerable children », in the nigerien muslim context  

Author:

Elise Guillermet (IRD)

Paper short abstract:

This communication proposes to describe how the global (OVC), medical (HIV/aids) and muslim (fatherless) definitions of orphans are reappropriated and negociated in the nigerien muslim context through the case study of an association of people living with HIV/aids in Zinder (the second town of Niger).

Paper long abstract:

Since the beginning of 2000', UNICEF proposes economic and sanitary interventions for « Orphans of aids » called "Orphaned and Vulnerable Children" in order to include children with alive parents.

In Niger, a muslim context, the orphan is "officially" a fatherless child. The distinction of orphans is founded on kinship rules and no on illness or "global" categories. In spite of it, since 2005, the Global Fund and Unicef proposed a support for the OVC of aids. Consequently, different actors started to interact around these different definitions: the UN representatives, the state workers, the local actors (the traditionnal chief, the religious leaders and the families).

This communication proposes to describe how the global, medical and muslim definitions of orphans are reappropriated and negociated in this context through the case study of an association of people living with HIV/aids in Zinder (the second town of Niger).

This focus is permitted by the combined observation of :

-the emic status of orphaned members and their strategies of membership,

-the description of a meeting on the OVC and aid application,

-the analysis of the gap between the children statistically registered (near 120) and the children physically identified or included in health program (less than 50).

The logics of the identities' negociation appear in the interactions and the discourses of the different actors, and associate:

-health preoccupations

-religious meanings

-social contraints (kinship, neighbourhood)

-economic strategies fluently observed in a "developmentist" context.

Panel W019
The anthropology of the United Nations