Malawi is scrambling to deal with one million orphans while contending with state rollbacks resulting in economic, political, and social breakdowns. As a result, a new space is emerging for faith-based organizations. Their presence is justified through a global discourse of connection rooted in the western ideology of childhood as a state of innocence and immaturity in need of protection and intervention. These organizations function with myriad ideologies, projects, and resources as they develop intimate linkages with children and communities. This article highlights the disjuncture between western conceptualizations and Malawian understandings of orphans, illustrating how this disjuncture results in unanticipated consequences as material resources are deployed and programs implemented. Two faith-based organizations focusing on orphans and some unanticipated outcomes of these emerging global ties are examined.
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