Keeping parents and child

Promising practices in community engagement for elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive

Promising practices in community engagement for elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothe

The methods used in this study included literature review and key informant interviews. “Community engagement” was defined broadly to include participation, mobilization and empowerment, while excluding activities that involve communities solely as the recipients of information or services. A “promising practice” was defined as a practice for which there is documented evidence of effectiveness in achieving intended results and some indication of replicability, scaleup or sustainability.

The promising practices identified through this research are organized below in terms of their primary intended outcome. The study describes each practice, provides documented examples, and summarizes the lessons learnt.

The shift towards systems strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa and where we are now


The shift towards systems strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa and where we are now

Agnes Aidoo, Member of the UN Committee on the rights of the child, gave the key note address at the First Conference on Child Protection Systems Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa: Promising Practices, Lessions Learned and the Way Forward, held in Dakar, Senegal, 7-9 May 2012.

In her address she calls for a fundamental re-examination in our approach to child protection, to a more comprehensive and holistic approach. She shares some examples currently being implemented in Africa, and suggests three key strategies to improve the lives of children. The full address is att

The practice and activities of psychosocial support by communities and families for children and adolescents living with HIV

The Southern African AIDS Trust (SAT) has launched a new resource on the requirements for Psychosocial Support for Children and Adolescents.

Organisations need to support caregivers, families and communities to create conditions that allow children and adolescents to experience being cared for and loved as part of their day-to-day experiences in their families and communities. Young children affected by HIV and AIDS, and other major disruptions in their lives, have critical psychosocial needs that are best addressed when embedded in their everyday lives – through responsive parental care, a return to normalcy (such as routines and opportunities to play), and social participation (such as returning to school and in other community activities).

Psychosocial care, support and rehabilitation are all best provided by families and communities, sometimes with assistance. When families are supported to be able to provide care, few children need specialised psychological or social programmes.

Programmes that can effectively meet the needs of children in the context of HIV and AIDS and poverty are those that acknowledge, support and strengthen the commitment and care of families and households. These responses must be supported by constructive national policies and the mobilisation of resources. Within the mix of required responses, activities to protect, support and promote the psychosocial wellbeing of children and families are urgently needed.

Other resources recently published by SAT include:

Counselling Guidelines for Voluntary Medical male circumcision (VMMC) - a booklet that specifically addresses counselling on Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as an additional HIV prevention method.

Mainstreaming Gender in the Response to HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa - a guide for the integration of gender issues into HIV and AIDS response.

20 years of strengthening community HIV and AIDS competence: Lessons for the future - a reflection on the South-South learning over the past 20 years as experienced by SAT partners.  

These resources are available through the SAT website:,  through any of their country offices in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, or by writing to

Working paper - children living with and affected by HIV in residential care


In many countries, significant numbers of children are temporarily or permanently cared for in residential care. Evidence suggests that the phenomenon of residential care has been growing in recent years due to a complex interplay of different factors, among them HIV and AIDS. To date, there is no systematic information on the numbers of children living with or directly affected by HIV who are placed in residential care, the reasons for and the impacts of their placement on individual children, their families and communities and on the residential care facilities themselves.

This paucity of data makes it difficult to monitor the success of efforts to support family-based care, prevent separation and promote reunification for all children, including those affected by HIV. It also impairs efforts to ensure that children living with HIV in residential care are able to access HIV-specific services that are supportive and appropriate.

This is a working document which will be continually updated. If you have information and evidence to share, or questions on this report, please email:

Every child's right to be heard: A resource guide on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, general comment no. 12

Since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, Article 12 – the provision that children have a right to express their views and have them taken seriously in accordance with their age and maturity – has proved one of the most challenging to implement.

This resource guide provides practical help on implementating article 12 by providing examples of legislation and policy, guidelines for practitioners, evidence from research, and examples of meaningful participation in practice. It draws together experiences from around the world to enable governments to learn from each other, build on existing developments, and broaden understanding of the scope and meaning of Article 12.

Community responses for children affected by AIDS: Challenges for the future! RIATT-ESA satellite – ICASA 2011

Community responses for children affected by AIDS: Challenges for the future! RIATT-ESA satellite – ICASA 2011.pps

The RIATT-ESA held a very successful satellite session at ICASA 2011. Focusing on Strengthening families, Increasing effectiveness of resources, and Child participation, The key note address was presented by Dr. Chewe Luo, and looked at future challenges in the community response for children affected by AIDS. 

Dr. Luo is a Paediatrician and Tropical Child Health specialist from Zambia, currently working as Technical team leader for Country programme scale-up and Senior programme Advisor for HIV at UNICEF, New York. She has over 15 years of experience in HIV/AIDS and child health as a clinician and researcher at the University Teaching Hospital in Zambia; as a clinician in the UK, and working with UNICEF at country, regional and headquarter levels. She has a Masters of Medicine in Paediatrics from the University of Zambia and a Masters in tropical Paediatrics and a PhD from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK

Children at the centre: A guide to supporting community groups caring for vulnerable children

Children at the centre: A guide to supporting community groups caring for vulnerable children.pdf

There are a rapidly growing number of vulnerable children across Africa facing multiple violations of their rights. They suffer hunger, ill health, violence, neglect, loss of access to education and opportunities for play, and have little chance of a successful and happy future. An estimated 12 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, countless millions more children are living in households with sick parents and are helping to care for them. Millions more African children are affected by conflict, famine and poverty. The total number of orphaned children in sub-Saharan Africa was 48.3 million at the end of 2005.1 Although anti-retroviral treatment offers hope that fewer HIV-positive people will become sick in the future, there are countless children whose lives have already been disrupted.

Governments bear a responsibility to care for these children, but too often they do not. For centuries, communities in Africa have helped neighbours in crisis. But the huge numbers of children in need mean that neighbourly support is no longer enough. As a response, community members are getting together to assist children and their families within their communities. Community initiatives can provide various kinds of assistance including parenting, protection, psychosocial and spiritual support, and material assistance.

However, these community groups require assistance to most effectively care for children. They need support to deliver the best responses, reaching the most vulnerable children over the long term. Children at the Centre is primarily written for those working in agencies (supporting organisations) that are currently supporting, or wishing to support, the establishment of community groups to support vulnerable children. In this guide, ‘community groups’ refers to collectives of community members who are caring for vulnerable children.

Children and AIDS: Fourth stocktaking report, 2009

Children and AIDS: Fourth stocktaking report, 2009.pdf

Years ago, when the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic on children was just becoming apparent, there was no way to imagine an AIDS-free generation in the foreseeable future.

In 2005, the epidemic’s consequences prompted UNICEF, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other partners to launch Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS, a global campaign to focus attention and resources on mitigating the worst effects of HIV and AIDS on children and young people.

Four years into this effort, many lives have been saved or improved because national governments, non-governmental organizations, local communities and international organizations have been examining the evidence and responding.the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is a global objective.

Combination prevention – integrating behavioural, structural/ social and biomedical approaches – can help to reduce HIV prevalence among young people. AIDS-sensitive, rather than AIDS-exclusive, interventions are being embraced in many places to benefit children affected by AIDS

Children and AIDS: Fifth stocktaking report, 2010

Children and AIDS: Fifth stocktaking report, 2010.pdf

For nearly three decades, HIV and AIDS have been devastating individuals and families with the tragedy of untimely death and medical, financial and social burdens.  Although children’s concerns have always been present within the great spectrum of need associated with HIV, they have to some extent been overshadowed by the very scale of the epidemic in the adult population. Thanks to improved evidence and accelerated action, however, the story of how the AIDS epidemic is affecting children is being rewritten.

No longer a sidebar crowded out by the broader compelling narrative of HIV and AIDS, children are now central to strategies and actions to avert and address the consequences of the epidemic. It is estimated that more than 1,000 babies continue to be born with HIV every day, many of them destined to die before age two if they do not receive medication. Mothers are still dying. Adolescents are still becoming infected with HIV because they have neither the knowledge nor the access to services to protect themselves, and those infected at birth are struggling to reconcile their emerging adulthood with their HIV-positive status.
But advocacy and investment on behalf of children have had an impact, and the goal of virtual elimination of mother-tochild transmission by 2015 appears within reach. In 2005, for example, only 15 per cent of HIV-positive pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries received antiretrovirals for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV; in 2009, 53 per cent of women in need received antiretrovirals for PMTCT.

In 2005, only 75,000 children under 15 in need received antiretroviral treatment. Today, that figure is approximately 356,400, around 28 per cent of those in need.

In 2005, 5.2 million young people aged 15–24 were living with HIV; today, an estimated 5.0 million are.4 Before 2005 in many sub-Saharan African countries, children who had lost both parents to AIDS were much less likely to be in school than children whose parents were alive; today, in most places they are almost
equally likely to be in school.

Child protection systems: Mapping and assessing child protection systems in eastern and southern Africa

Child protection systems: Mapping and assessing child protection systems in eastern and southern Africa.PDF 

This assessment, commissioned by UNICEF East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), examines the situational context with respect to child protection systems in the east and southern Africa Region, highlighting existing programming and lessons learned. It proposes the way forward for both national as well as global stakeholders.


Retrak Outreach Work Oct2014.pdf



This paper outlines principals of outreach work with street or homeless children. 

These principals include: Following a rights based aproach; Understanding each child and his/her situation; building relationships; being flexible; building in reflection and ensurging staff care and protection. 


These principles provide the foundation to which outreach workers can return as they apply Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in their work. The aim in using this SOPs is to get to know children on the streets and begin to build trusting relationships with them, so that they can be safer on the streets and choose to access further services which could lead them to an alternative to street life.