Voices of Zimbabwean Orphans

A New Vision for Project Management in Southern Africa


The voices of orphans and other vulnerable children and young people and of their carers and professional development workers are documented and analysed to both criticise the inadequacies of current social development work and to create a new, alternative theory and practice of project management in Zimbabwe and southern Africa. This is the first extensive and intensive empirical study of Zimbabwean orphans and other vulnerable children and young people. Chronically poor children and their carers can be corrupted or silenced by management systems which fail to recognise their basic human needs. Resilience in the face of such adversity is celebrated by the dominant project management ideology and practice but is a major barrier to achieve genuine sustainable improvements in the lives of vulnerable children. We propose a new person-centred project management approach aimed at delivering comprehensive services for orphans, which explicitly recognises the needs of orphans and other poor children to be fully socially, politically and economically included within their communities and which avoids the reinforcement of power based inequalities and their unacceptable consequences. The moral bankruptcy of much social development work in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Southern Africa is described and we delineate an alternative project management policy and practice.

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Manasa Dzirikure, Ph.D. (2011), is a social development /project leader and systems thinker at the Southern African Development Community in Botswana. He is an expert in social policy, consensus building, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, capacity building and grants management on social development for the poor and vulnerable, children and youth.

Garth Allen is Adjunct Professor at Durban University of Technology and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa and Visiting Professor at the Universidade de Lurio, Mozambique. He is the founder and Director of Really Useful Knowledge Consultants and an economist, educationalist and strategic management specialist. He is the author of 11 books and 22 peer reviewed journal articles. One of his most recent books is Tourism in the New South Africa: Social Responsibility and the Tourist Experience (I.B. Tauris).
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Chapter 1: The social situation of orphans in southern Africa, and in Zimbabwe in particular.
Chapter 2: Zimbabwe and its orphans: a geographical and political sketch.
Chapter 3: Theory and practice in understanding and improving the social situation of Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in southern Africa
Chapter 4: Systems, social development and the needs of OVCs.
Chapter 5: Key conceptual frameworks for understanding the social situation of OVCs
Chapter 6: The Zimbabwe research study of OVCs
Chapter 7: What orphans want? Voices from the field
Chapter 8: Social theory and social planning for OVCs
Chapter 9: OVCs: policy and practice in a holistic tradition
Chapter 10: Project management and OVCs in southern Africa
Chapter 11: Moving policy and action forward for the benefit of OVCs in southern Africa


Social policy and decision makers, project practitioners, researchers, academics, development workers, donors, advocates and individuals concerned with social inequality particularly for children, will find the book inspiring, informative and guiding.