Orphaned and vulnerable

Livelihood-based social protection for orphans and vulnerable children: Success stories from Malawi


Livelihood-based social protection for orphans and vulnerable children: Success stories from Malawi.pdf

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

National policy on orphans and vulnerable children: Republic of Kenya - Draft 3

National policy on orphans and vulnerable children: Republic of Kenya - Draft 3

The HIV/AIDS pandemic, alongside other forms of socio-economic deprivation is a major contributor towards susceptibility of the Kenyan family today. The plight of children is at stake with the number of orphans being expected to rise to two million by 2010, with HIV/AIDS contributing up to 60% of the total cases. These children have indeed limited access to psychosocial and economic support, leading them to being the most vulnerable of our Kenyan society.

In response to this a National Steering Committee (NSC) on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) was constituted in May 2004, to deliberate upon interventions. The Committee is headed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. A rapid assessment on the state of OVC was carried out in June 2004, with the support of various development partners. The report of this assessment informed on the regrettable vulnerability of children, demanding immediate action. Consequently the NSC noted the need to come up with a national policy on OVC to steer intervention.

Literature review: Care and support for teaching and learning

Literature review: Care and support for teaching and learning

In 2004, UNICEF estimated that the number of children orphaned by AIDS globally would exceed 25 million by 2010, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV and AIDS, poverty and a variety of other factors in the physical, political, socio-economic and ecological environments would radically threaten survival and development opportunities of children. This projection was published in UNICEF’s 2004 Framework for the Protection, Care and Support of Orphans and Vulnerable Children, a document drawn up by a wide array of practitioners and representatives, government and non-government, in the international development field, with the purpose of providing global leaders and decision makers with a common agenda for an effective response to the problems of orphans and vulnerable children and youth.

At the time of reporting, 2004, according to the framework, few resources were reaching families, schools, communities and health care and welfare systems to help them cope with the impact of these hazards. Little attention was being given in national development agendas to help provide a front-line response and donors had not yet come up with comprehensive and targeted programmes. The framework stressed that governments and agencies needed to work together in co-ordinated ways to achieve an effective response to the problems presented by the epidemic and the related problem of poverty in underdeveloped regions of the world. Leadership, co-ordination and facilitation by governments were described as fragmented and weak, with programmes reaching a tiny minority of vulnerable children.

Over the last six years, since the publication of the 2004 UNICEF framework, the demand for an education sector response has been mounting and programme interventions to offer care and support to vulnerable children have been piloted and implemented. Increasingly Ministries of Education across Africa have risen to the challenge of providing large-scale interventions at a national level. This has been most evident in the sub-Saharan region, incorporating the SADC region, where widespread poverty and high HIV prevalence has had an unprecedented negative impact on millions of children. A review of the literature available suggests that more widely across
developed and developing nations, education-based interventions have concentrated on supporting children through HIV education and awareness-raising. Sub-Saharan Africa appears to lead the way in proposing and piloting more holistic and integrated models of care and support which focus on a broad spectrum of the needs of children, especially the most vulnerable.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is afflicted by poverty, war, HIV and AIDS placing millions of children at risk. Providing care and support to vulnerable children is one of the greatest challenges currently facing the region. The education sector is just one sector in which there are negative repercussions: The majority of OVCY are of school-going age; however they are less likely to enrol at or attend school regularly and more likely to drop out of school than their non-vulnerable peers[2]. Thus, the growing number of OVCY is offsetting progress towards achieving the Education For All (EFA) goals and other international and national targets. There is however, a great deal of potential, for education systems to form a key part of the solution to providing care and support to OVCY.

Children spend a large portion of their lives at school. Sometimes a school is the only infrastructure in a small rural community and for parents and children alike represents the promise of learning which will secure a child’s future. The school brings together people who occupy a number of different roles (in the classroom, in the playground, in management and on governing bodies, in support services and other groups). The school has therefore been identified by many service provision agencies and organisations as an essential node for the delivery of care and support services to vulnerable children.

Schools are not the only centres for the provision of support services, however. Over the last ten to fifteen years, as HIV /AIDS has tightened its grip over communities across the southern African region, a plethora of non-government initiatives, operating independently of schools, have been set up to respond to the needs of children and families made vulnerable by the pandemic.

All approaches to the implementation of care and support interventions in the school appear to uphold above all a common commitment to putting the needs and interests of the child first and strengthening school communities to provide a more caring, supportive and inclusive environment for effective teaching and learning.

Mainstreaming care and support in school-based interventions involves a paradigm shift in the schools’ approach to the development and education of the child. Schools are no longer expected to hand down an education package from within a vertical ministerial stream. Rather, policies, services and programmes designed to support vulnerable children and their families need to be more diffuse and enacted in an integrated manner, rather than in programme isolation. Children’s developmental needs (health, education, protection, nutrition and poverty reduction, for example) must be addressed across policies, procedures, planning, budgeting, capacity building, human resource development, monitoring and evaluation and inter-sectoral networking.

This literature review aims to identify the core elements which are necessary for the provision of school-based care and support to teachers and learners in the SADC region. With a focus on particular studies and programmes, it aims to provide signposts for the development of the existing sub-regional research agenda, identifying lessons learnt from current practices.

Section 2 identifies the main documentation sources used in this literature review as well as the limitations associated with these.

Section 3 gives a brief overview of the institutional policy framework for a co-ordinated response to providing care and support for children rendered vulnerable by socio-economic and health factors at international, regional and national levels. International instruments have set targets for countries to draft and implement domestic policies to address the needs of vulnerable sectors. A review of progress in SADC Member States in achieving compliance in law and policy reform, together with progress in implementation, is being conducted separately.

Section 4 provides a brief overview of the SADC region focusing on demographic data that has a bearing on the ability of children in the Region to access quality education.  and the importance of the school system as entry points for the care and support interventions through partnership of government and non-government organisations across a wide spectrum.

Section 5 discusses the various modalities of care and support for teaching and learning observable in 14 programme interventions across the SADC region, touching on implementation achievements and challenges.

Section 6 provides a summary of the core elements of care and support for teaching and learning and demonstrated by the commonalities in the 14 programme interventions discussed in Section 5.

Section 7 draws out some of the information and research gaps evident in the literature and suggests potential areas for further research.

National plan of action for orphans and vulnerable children 2006-2010: Kingdom of Swaziland

National plan of action for orphans and vulnerable children 2006-2010: Kingdom of Swaziland

Swaziland, like other Sub-Saharan Countries, continues to be deeply affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic, which poses a threat to the country's economic and social development. In 2004, Sentinel Surveillance results from 17 Antenatal clinics identified an HIV and AIDS prevalence of 42.6 percent. An estimated 17,700 people died of AIDS-related deaths in 2003. The pandemic combined with widespread poverty, a weakening economy and regional drought, has left nearly one-third of children living in conditions typical of disaster situations. This especially affects orphans and vulnerable children left destitute and often forced to fend for themselves. With legislation and policies to protect children's property and rights still incomplete, too many cases continue to occur of children being disinherited and impoverished after the loss of parents.

A 2004 “rapid assessment” determined the magnitude and nature of the OVC challenge through analysing and summarising existing data. The analysis engaged key stakeholders who: examined available data; assessed critical gaps and constraints on leveraging OVC programmes; identified key actions and resources required to address these gaps; and mobilised leaders, partners and resources around a series of actions and follow-up that resulted in this National Plan of Action for OVC.

National plan of action for orphans and other vulnerable children: Zimbabwe

National plan of action for orphans and other vulnerable children: Zimbabwe

An estimated 761,000 children in Zimbabwe have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Projections suggest that by the year 2005, there will be approximately 1.1 million children under the age of 15 who will have been orphaned due to AIDS. In response to this crisis, the Government of Zimbabwe has endorsed the urgent need for coordinated, expanded interventions to strengthen existing work being undertaken by government ministries, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), faith-based organisations (FBOs) and United Nations (UN) agencies. With support from the Social Services Action Committee of the Cabinet (SSACC), a national stakeholders' conference was held in Harare in June 2003 to widen the consultative process and secure broad-based support for a National Plan of Action (NPA) for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC).

Policies for orphans and vulnerable children: A Framework for moving ahead


Policies for orphans and vulnerable children: A Framework for moving ahead.pdf

This paper aims to present a summary of the global OVC situation and current policy responses; to outline existing policy frameworks for responding to OVC; to identify policy-level gaps in national responses to the growing crisis of OVC; and to propose a country-level “OVC policy package” and recommendations for future policy dialogue and action

Namibia National Agenda for Children 2012-2016

Namibia's National Agenda for Children 2012-2016

The Namibia National Agenda for Children 2012-2016 is a call to action to put the constitutional mandate on the rights of children into implementable strategies. The Agenda is anchored on five pillars: health and nourishment; early childhood development and schooling; HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; adequate standard of living and legal identity; and protection against neglect and abuse.

The importance of Namibia developing its first-ever National Agenda for Children was highlighted through the publication of Children and Adolescents in Namibia 2010: A Situation Analysis, and through a review of the National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (2006-2010). Two critical issues were identified through these processes: that Namibia needed to adopt a multi-sectoral approach to planning and implementation towards child-centred development, and that we needed to look more broadly at the concepts of vulnerability and inequity through the lens of a child’s life cycle.

Through a broad-based consultative process which involved government, NGOs, civil society organisations, children and development partners, the national commitments for children were identified, discussed and prioritised. While these five-year commitments have been integrated into current sector policies and plans to a large extent, the National Agenda for Children brings them together concisely, which will enable all stakeholders to plan, implement and monitor their actions for children in a coordinated manner. The Agenda also serves as a major contribution to overall national development planning processes.

While the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has been assigned the task of facilitating the development of the national agenda for children, the primary responsibility for ensuring that is is implemented lies with the line ministries and their partners.

Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) Rapid Country Assessment, Analysis, and Action Planning (RAAAP) Initiative final report: Executive summary


OVCRapid Country Assessment, Analysis, and Action Planning (RAAAP) Initiative final report: Executive summary

In November 2003, USAID, UNICEF, UNAIDS, and the World Food Program (WFP) launched the massive orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) Rapid Country Assessment, Analysis, and Action Planning (RAAAP) Initiative in partnership with in-country donor offices, national OVC steering committees, and the POLICY Project to assess current levels of support and care for children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by AIDS in 17 sub-Saharan countries. These countries are Botswana, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Twelve of these countries are slated to receive funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The RAAAP Initiative on behalf of Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Sub-Saharan Africa was an unprecedented effort to identify and analyze the range of services being provided to an estimated 10.6 million children (up to age 17) orphaned by AIDS in the aforementioned 17 countries. The countries were selected had large numbers of OVC. In 11 of these countries, more than 15 percent of all children under the age of 17 were orphans in 2003. The estimated total number of orphans in the 17 countries was 26.7 million in 2003 (Children on the Brink, 2004).

Online videos: Changing childcare in the region

REPSSI has just released two new short online online, looking at how care for vulnerable children can be improved at community level.

The first video, “Changing Child Care in Africa” (4 minutes in length) shows how graduates of a special new distance-learning course are applying what they have learned in communities across Africa. The Certificate Course in Community-Based Work with Children and Youth, developed by REPSSI and UNICEF, has changed how these community volunteers, social workers, teachers, police, community workers and community caregivers work with children. Hailed as an innovative solution to capacity-building, there are over 1000 students set to graduate this year from over 400 organisations in ten countries. Watch the video here.

The second video, “Voices from the community: Caring for our Vulnerable Children” (5 minutes in length) brings together voices of community members across Africa who feel empowered to do something to protect their vulnerable children. Teachers, village leaders, grandmothers and CBO staff explain the changes they and their communities have experienced thanks to training in psychosocial support, and demonstrate just how resourceful and dedicated ordinary people can be. Watch the video here.

Conducting a situation analysis of orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS: A framework and resource guide

Conducting a situation analysis of orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS: A framework and resource guide.pdf

This framework and resource guide is intended to help people involved in programs assisting orphans and vulnerable children conduct a situation analysis. It is hoped that this guide will bring about a better understanding ofthe essential elements and outcomes of a situation analysis in order to promote realistic, effective, and feasible interventions to protect and improve the well-being of the children and families who bear the greatest impact of the AIDS epidemic. The guide serves as a tool for collecting and synthesizing in-country and sub-national information. Examples of situation analyses and related research are provided throughout the document to draw upon the variety of approaches, and their components, that communities and institutions have undertaken to assess their particular situation. We hope that these will be used as applicable lessons from actual experience.

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

Child protection and children affected by AIDS: A companion paper to the framework for protection, care and support of orphans and vulnerable children living in a world HIV and AIDS. August 2006

The past six years have seen increasing engagement by the international community on HIV, AIDS and children. One of the eight Millennium Development Goals set by governments in 2000 relates directly to HIV and AIDS. In 2001, at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, governments pledged to protect children affected by the disease. Global commitment to combat the impact of HIV and AIDS on children was again outlined in 2002 in ‘A World Fit for Children’, the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. More recently, in June 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, which reiterated government commitment to “addressing as a priority the vulnerabilities faced by children affected by and living with HIV; providing support and rehabilitation to these children and their families, women and the elderly, particularly in their role as caregivers; promoting child-oriented HIV/AIDS policies and programmes and increased protection for children orphaned and affected by HIV/AIDS…and building, where needed, and supporting the social security systems that protect them.” Many international and non-governmental organizations have endorsed The Framework for the Protection, Care and Support of Orphans and Vulnerable Children Living in a World with HIV and AIDS (The Framework), which outlines key strategies and actions. In October 2005, the Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS global campaign was launched. Among the central goals of the campaign is the protection, care and support of children affected by AIDS. Many countries heavily affected by the pandemic have responded by developing their own plans of action for orphans and vulnerable children, creating a mechanism for coordination and oversight for governments to work closely with civil society. This companion paper to The Framework provides additional information and outlines recommended actions for protecting affected children from increased vulnerability, and for reducing the higher risks they face of abuse, exploitation and neglect. While this paper discusses the protection issues facing children globally, its actions speak directly to the findings of the publication, Africa’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Generations: Children affected by AIDS, which incorporates new research on the vulnerability of orphans in the region hit hardest by the pandemic. All children have a right to protection. A child whose family is wealthy can still be raped or beaten. A girl in a loving family may still be married against her will when this is the social norm. Nevertheless, the risks for children increase when they or their families are poor, lack access to basic services, or are stigmatized within their communities. Parents are children’s first line of protection; risks increase when parents are absent due to illness, death or abandonment.

Children affected by AIDS are particularly vulnerable to protection violations because these problems are more likely to cluster in their lives. Reaching this group of children can be difficult because they may be hidden from view due to the stigma around HIV and AIDS. Children affected by AIDS share many vulnerabilities with children who have disabilities, children who are discriminated against due to the colour of their skin or children who have lost their parents as a result of armed conflict.

Protecting children affected by AIDS requires strengthening national and community-level responses for all vulnerable children. Governments, civil society and their partners can make real progress towards this goal by enhancing social protection, legal protection and justice and alternative care. This work must be underpinned by efforts to address the silence and stigma that allow both HIV- and AIDS-related discrimination, abuse and exploitation of children to continue. It also requires strengthening government authorities that hold the bulk of responsibility for protection, to more effectively provide oversight and coordination. This responsibility often falls to government social welfare agencies, but may also include health, education and other agencies. Priority actions needed in each of these areas are detailed in this document and are summarized in the matrix on the following page.

Changing the face of care for vulnerable children: REPSSI Certificate Course in Community-Based Work with Children and Youth

Changing the face of care for vulnerable children: REPSSI certificate course in community-based work with children and youth.pdf

The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) reviews their Certificate Course in Community-Based Work with Children and Youth. It responds to a critical regional demand for quality training in child care, and specifically social and emotional (psychosocial) support, child protection and promotion of children’s rights. The Certificate is a standardised, accredited course for East and Southern Africa.

This overview provides information on the course and feedback on the impact it has had for those who have completed the course.

For more information about the certificate course, and how you can support students to enroll, contact: 

Willys Simfukwe, Head of Programmes, Willys.simfukwe@repssi.org  or Lynette Mudekunye, REPSSI Deputy Executive Director, lynette.mudekunye@repssi.org.

REPSSI is also offering several training courses throughout the year on building capacity to provide psychosocial support and monitoring of support interventions. Find out more about these trainings on our events page.