The SUUBI Program: Asset-Ownership for Orphaned Children in Uganda (SUUBI)

This study has been completed.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Fred Ssewamala, PhD, Columbia University Identifier:
First received: July 14, 2010
Last updated: March 13, 2014
Last verified: March 2014
This study examines an economic empowerment model of care and support for orphaned adolescents in rural Uganda. The Suubi intervention focuses on economic empowerment of families caring for orphaned youths. It attempts to address the health risks and poor educational achievements resulting from poverty and limited options.

Condition Intervention Phase
Behavioral: Children's development account
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Subject)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: The SUUBI Program: Creating Asset-Ownership Opportunities and Health Promotion Among Orphaned Children in Uganda

Further study details as provided by Columbia University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Savings and asset-accumulation [ Time Frame: baseline, 10-month and 20-month post-intervention ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    past experience, current savings, and attitudes toward saving

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Sexual risk taking [ Time Frame: baseline, 10-month and 20-month post-intervention ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
    Sexual risk taking behavior (history and onset of sexual intercourse), Intentions to engage in sexual risk behaviors

  • Educational outcomes [ Time Frame: baseline, 10-month, and 20-month post-intervention ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    School enrollment, School attendance, School grades, Educational aspirations

  • Mental health [ Time Frame: baseline, 10-month and 20-month post-intervention ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
    Self-esteem, depression, hopelessness, helplessness

  • Social and family support [ Time Frame: baseline, 10-month and 20-month post-intervention ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Emotional support from caregivers, practical assistance, financial assistance and advice/guidance, and family communication

Enrollment: 286
Study Start Date: June 2005
Study Completion Date: January 2009
Primary Completion Date: June 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Intervention Details:
    Behavioral: Children's development account
    Children in the experimental condition (the SUUBI program) received, in addition to the usual care, an economic empowerment intervention aimed at promoting asset accumulation for families—and consisting of three major components: 1) workshops focused on asset-building and future planning; 2) a monthly mentorship program for adolescents with peer mentors on life options; and 3) a Child Development Account (CDA), dedicated to paying for secondary schooling, vocational training and/or a family small business. The CDAs were matched savings accounts, with a match rate of 2:1 as an incentive for participants to save, but with a limit on the maximum savings that could be matched (the match cap, in this case, was equivalent to $10 a month).
    Other Name: Children's savings account
Detailed Description:

The AIDS epidemic and a 20‐year civil war have had a devastating impact on Uganda. The events have led to population displacement, worsening living conditions, exacerbation of poverty, and disruption of already weakened social service systems. As implemented, the Suubi Project goes considerably beyond the usual care, which primarily consists of institutionalization and reactive strategies (involving food and material aid). Specifically, the intervention promotes children's savings accounts, also known as children development accounts, for postprimary education and microenterprise development (i.e., development of small income‐generating businesses).

The Suubi intervention is grounded in asset theory (Sherraden 1990, 1991), which holds that assets (e.g., savings, educational opportunities, and economic opportunities in the form of income‐generating activities or microenterprises) have important economic, social, and psychological benefits for individuals and families. Asset building is increasingly viewed as a critical factor for reducing poverty, improving psychosocial functioning, and positively affecting attitudes and behaviors.


Ages Eligible for Study:   11 Years to 17 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • an orphaned child, defined as a child who has lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS; enrolled in primary school (even though possibly not attending regularly); between the ages of 12 to 15 years.
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01163695

St. Joseph's Matale Parish
Rakai, Uganda
Sponsors and Collaborators
Columbia University
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Fred M Ssewamala, PhD Columbia University
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Fred Ssewamala, PhD, Associate Professor of Social Work, Columbia University Identifier: NCT01163695     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: AAAA5337  R21MH076475-01 
Study First Received: July 14, 2010
Last Updated: March 13, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board
Uganda: National Council for Science and Technology

Keywords provided by Columbia University:
economic empowerment model, orphans, sub-Saharan Africa processed this record on May 25, 2016