Strengthening support mechanisms in communities to cope with the growing number of OVC in times of HIV and AIDS (2007-2010)

The aim of the project was to support organisations in Malawi in linking and learning and to develop innovative strategies to improve the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children.

With the “Strengthening support mechanisms in communities to cope with the growing number of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in times of HIV and AIDS” project in Malawi (2007-2010), STOP AIDS NOW! aimed to support organisations in Malawi in linking and learning to develop innovative strategies to improve the well-being of OVC.

Partners

To make the project a success, STOP AIDS NOW! worked together with the following local organisations: Network of Organisations for Vulnerable and Orphaned Children (NOVOC); Centre for Youth and Children Affairs (CEYCA); Eye of the Child; Ecumenical Counseling Centre (ECC); Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO); Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC); Plan Malawi; and Institute for Policy Research and Social Empowerment (IPRSE). 

Key principles

  • The projects contributed to the Government of Malawi’s National Plan of Action for Orphans and Vulnerable Children as they contributed to the facilitation of support for care, protection and development of these children.
  • The projects in Malawi used the Linking & Learning approach as their main approach. Key elements of this approach are: partnership, participation, complementarity, sharing information and expertise within the partnership, learning, reflection, action research, and sharing lessons learned with stakeholders outside the partnership. 

Focus areas

Lobby and Advocacy
In the lobby and advocacy project, CEYCA, NOVOC, Plan Malawi and MHRRC partnered:

  • to increase the number of orphans and vulnerable children and their caretakers who have knowledge on how to access basic social services;
  • to develop and utilise relevant advocacy and lobbying skills to ensure the plight of OVC remains on top of the agenda of the government and the public at large;
  • to contribute to the prevalence of a legal framework that is accessible and supportive of an improvement in the plight of OVC; and
  • to increase the networking and exchange of experiences and best practices between and among the participating organizations.


Psychosocial Support
The Psychosocial Support Project intended to scale up psychosocial support activities in Malawi as most support to orphans and vulnerable children focuses on physical and material needs and not on much needed psychosocial needs. The project brought together and built on the experiences of NOVOC, YONECO, ECC and Eye of the Child as they use different strategies and focus on different target groups and in that way accumulating their varied experiences in psychosocial support. The objectives of the project were:

  • to increase the understanding of psychosocial support issues, strategies and interventions for OVC service providers through linking and learning in Malawi;
  • to create a learning environment for the provision of improved psychosocial support services rendered to OVC;
  • to increase the integration of psychosocial support services in the OVC‐related initiatives undertaken by various organizations in Malawi; and
  • to increase the networking and exchange of experiences and best practices between and among the participating organizations.Strengthening Social Cash Transfer Scheme

In this pilot NOVOC, CEYCA, YONECO and IPRSE, worked together with the national government and the district council on enhancing the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Scheme in Chitipa and Mangochi districts.

Read the special section on our website about this project.

Achievements

Lobby and Advocacy

  • Three District Networks were established in Mchinji, Kasungu and Lilongwe districts, which have led to greater networking and joined advocacy;
  • The production of the Training Manual - Advocacy for the Care, Protection and Support of Orphans and Vulnerable Children;
  • Advocacy leaflets for the Care, Protection and Support of OVC 
  • The popularisation of the OVC Policy;
  • The development of the strategy: Promoting the Welfare and Rights of OVC through Effective Communication; and
  • Successful consultations and information‐sharing among partners and with other stakeholders greatly strengthened our decision‐making process and helped us to overcome the challenges we encountered.

Psychosocial Support

  • The establishment of a shared understanding of psychosocial support among partners and other organisations working with OVC in Malawi;
  • The identification of gaps in the provision of psychosocial support in Malawi;
  • The production of materials to address those gaps, including the psychosocial support leaflet, the Mainstreaming Strategy and the Psychosocial Support Source Book for Vulnerable Children in Malawi ;
  • The building and strengthening of both formal and informal relationships among partner organisations which resulted in greater sharing of information, increased joint implementation of psychosocial support activities and the practice of partners providing support and capacity building to one other;
  • The integration of psychosocial support into already existing programmes of the partners and also other organisations; and
  • Contributed towards the establishment of a psychosocial support sub-committee by the Technical Working Group on OVC (national level).

STOP AIDS NOW! is currently exploring possibilities to further expand the dissemination and increase the use and understanding of the Psychosocial Support Source Book. Read more