Track D report by Morten Skovdal
PEPFAR has earmarked 10% of its funding for activities in support of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) –making it a key player in the global response to children orphaned and otherwise affected by HIV and AIDS. As such, there was great interest in the Satellite Session on PEPFAR’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program. The session provided PEPFAR with an opportunity to share their experiences and position in the OVC response as well as to introduce their new ‘Guidance for Orphans and Vulnerable Children’. The session was opened by Neil Boothby who is the Senior Coordinator for the USAID Administrator on Children in Adversity and closed by Ambassador Eric Goosby, both of whom reiterated the U.S. Government’s commitment to the OVC response and highlighted the need for multi-sectorial, inter-agency and context sensitive responses. They also reiterated the need for better monitoring and evaluation of OVC programmes to facilitate scale up and contribute to real reductions in poor child outcomes.
Providing content to this session, Lorraine Sherr provided an excellent overview of evaluations conducted of PEPFAR OVC programmes. She reviewed 18 evaluation documents reporting on 22 OVC programmes in sub-Saharan Africa and found that although they revealed very promising trends of improved child outcomes, only few of the programmes collected baseline data, or were designed as randomized control trials, making it difficult to evaluate the impact of the programmes. Herbert Mugumya from Africare in Tanzania and Zeni Thumbadoo of the South Africa National Association of Child Care Workers each spoke about the impact of the PEPFAR OVC programme in strengthening the OVC response in Tanzania and South Africa respectively. In Tanzania for example, the Pamoja Tuwalee programme set out to strengthen the economic capacity of households with OVC, and amongst other things was found to improve the food security of OVC as well as providing guardians with opportunities to set up income generating activities. In South Africa, PEPFAR support the strengthening of a social welfare work force. They do so through the training and remuneration of 800 child and youth care workers who mobilise rings of support for 100,000 vulnerable children. Zeni Thumbadoo, in the presence of officials from the Department of Social Development in South Africa announced the commitment of the South African government to work towards hiring 10,000 additional child and youth care workers over the next 5 years – aiming to provide social welfare support for 1.4 million orphaned and vulnerable children.
Youth report by Jessie Hagadorn
PEPFAR’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programs have been evaluated and new recommendations and observations have been published on their findings. Allocation of 10% of resources will go towards monitoring and evaluation of the programs, so that baselines can be found to work on future reduction strategies. The best way to prevent HIV transmission and have the best possible outcomes for young children, especially in vulnerable or adverse situations, is to target the family unit. Making sure vulnerable families have the appropriate support, access, training, and interventions necessary will help to create a healthier future generation.
In the communities linked with Africare, there has been a push to become self-sustained in terms of food production. Now, 76% of families depend on buying their food, and many receive aid in order to do so. Providing basic health care for families for $5 annually, also allows families to save money and spend money on other resources.
Working in the families and the life spaces that children work and play in, will introduce interventions for healthy development and HIV prevention in all aspects of their lives. The “Ages and Stages” section of the new PEPFAR recommendations shows best practices for how to engage youth and prevention strategies for different aspects and ages of the child’s life.