Poverty and under development remain daunting challenges for the SADC region. The combined impact of these factors is evident in the increasingly high numbers of orphans and other vulnerable children and youth (OVCY) and the often acute violation of human and child rights. The SADC business plan links with other strategic frrameworks to provide a roadmap of the SADC approach to the care and support for OVCY.
About two thirds of the population in the region live below the international poverty line of US1$ per day. Poverty in SADC is exacerbated by several factors among which are: (a) high levels of diseases in particular HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
These have resulted in unprecedented levels of morbidity and mortality among the people of productive and reproductive age; (b) social conflict and in some cases war; (c) natural disasters such as recurrent droughts and floods associated with climate change which impact negatively on food security; (d) unemployment; (e) and low industrial growth and productivity which is reinforced by high levels of migration of skilled labour from the region.
The recent global economic turmoil is compounding on the already dire situation in the region. Health, social and economic forecasts suggest that household poverty and orphaning will remain high in the foreseeable future. Vulnerable and poor households such as those headed by children, women, older people, people living with disabilities and HIV and AIDS and the unemployed bear the brunt of these numerous challenges, with often little or no options to cope.
In view of these challenges, SADC developed specific interventions focusing on OVCY, elaborated through the Strategic Framework and Programme of Action for OVC, 2008 -2015 that was approved by SADC Ministers of Health and HIV and AIDS in November 2008 -2015. The Framework and this Business Plan, mark the first deliberate effort to mount a regional response on OVCY in SADC.
The premise of the SADC approach to the care and support for OVCY is the recognition that people in particular children and young people who comprise the demographic majority, are the real wealth of SADC Member States (MS). Thus, the fundamental purpose of development should be directed at enlarging their human freedoms and capabilities by expanding the choices that they have, to live full productive and creative lives, contributing to sustainable development in SADC.