This Situation Analysis Report is part of a broader review and assessment of agricultural and livelihood-based social protection for orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) programmes in Malawi that are deemed to have potential for replication and scaling up. The United Nations (UN) and Partners Alliance for livelihood-based social protection for OVC champions this initiative against the background of a widely acknowledged need for a coordinated approach and response among a multiplicity of stakeholders to reduce transaction costs, and improve efficiency and effectiveness in the efforts that are intended to build a better future for OVC. During the Global OVC Partners Forum in October 2003, a decision was made to undertake joint rapid assessment, analysis and action planning (RAAAP) to act as a basis for OVC national responses. The overall objective of the RAAAP process was to identify immediate key actions needed to significantly scale up national multisectoral responses in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Similarly, the need for coordination and leadership on OVC issues was acknowledged and expressed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministers in 2004 through the Cape Town Declaration, and further by the intergovernmental conference in 2006 through what is known as the Livingstone Call for Action.
Following such appeals for greater commitment, cooperation and action to provide social protection, countries in the region have made various responses. By mid 2005, sixteen countries in southern and eastern Africa, including Malawi, completed the first RAAAP phase which resulted in the design of the SADC National Plan of Action (NPA) for OVC. The UN and Partners Alliance for livelihood-based social protection for OVC was formed in early 2006 between UN agencies (FAO [Food and Agricultural Organization], UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] and WPF [World Food Programme]), governments (line ministries for the NPA), and civil society organizations such as CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) and Oxfam. In Malawi, the RAAAP process was commissioned in 2004, facilitated by a national task force for OVC with support from the technical working group on OVC which comprised technical staff from UNICEF, UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS), USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and WFP. The RAAAP contributed a great deal to the development of the 2005–2009 NPA for OVC. The development of the NPA was facilitated by a country steering committee which comprised members from key line ministries of government, UN agencies, donors, the National AIDS Commission and the chair of the national task force for OVC.
The need to reconsider the livelihood part of the social protection agenda for orphans and other vulnerable children In Malawi, it is generally acknowledged that the development of the NPA has raised the profile of OVC and led to improvements in funding OVC projects. However, it has also been argued, both in the country and in the region, that support to OVC projects has mainly focused on education and child protection without adequately addressing the livelihoodbased social protection needs of OVC1. Based on this assertion, FAO was mandated to review and assess innovative agricultural and livelihood programmes from the perspective of the emerging social protection agenda for OVC and in the context of HIV and AIDS in the eastern and southern African regions, in order to identify promising practices that could be replicated and scaled up. This study is therefore part of this regional effort