Protecting Africa's future: Livelihood-based social protection for orphaned and vulnerable children in East and Southern Africa

FAO REOSA policy brief 01

Despite greater access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in southern Africa, the current HIV epidemic continues to result in increasing numbers of orphaned and vulnerable children. In many countries in the region, as many as 50 per cent of all orphans under the age of 17 years had parents who died of AIDS-related illnesses. According to bodies like UNAIDS, this level of AIDSrelated orphanhood is expected to remain high until 2030.

Although noteworthy policy and investment in programmes aimed at responding to these children’s needs exist, too many programmes remain ill-equipped to cater for their needs in a sustainable and cost-effective way. This is partly as a result of gaps in OVC social protection policy and legislation.

This policy brief presents a series of Regional Inter-Agency Task Team for Children (RIATT) and FAO recommendations. 

Among them are:

  • Drafting stand-alone social protection policies to fill gaps in protection of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC); and
  • Strengthening existing policy frameworks.

It also advocates for:

  • Livelihood-based social protection initiatives aimed at reducing vulnerability and providing social transfers to the poor; and
  • Protecting the vulnerable against livelihood risks and enhancing the social status of themarginalized.