OVC Programme Officer: Mrs Annabelle Siamunjai Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children (Desk) Development was started in 2001.It was initiated as a result of the growing number of Orphans and vulnerable children in the Diocese. Previously, Orphans and Vulnerable children were under the Integrated AIDS Programme but since their capacity was limited, it was realised that the problem of OVC was much wider than a health Problem, it was delinked from IAP and hence the creation of Children desk then. The care and support for OVC includes education, livelihood to enhance food security, training skills, behaviour change and psychosocial support.
Identification and recruitment of OVCs into the programme
Children Development uses the following criteria to enroll orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) into the programme.
- Household voluntary counseling and testing to identify HIV+ children:
- All members of Basic Care and Support households
- All members of OVC households
- Linkage to PMTCT programs
- Follow up HIV+ mother and exposed baby; enroll baby if confirmed HIV+
- Children identified in the community as being vulnerable through parish priests
- Health Care: this area looks at the physical wellness of the children and also provides health care services at the centre or through referrals. Health care also caters for HIV prevention services through life skill and dissemination of age appropriate messages to OVC.
- Psychosocial And Spiritual Support: focuses on the emotional health and social behaviour of children through the kids clubs and home visits that are done by caregivers and members of staff.
- Child Protection: ensures that abuse and exploitation issues of children are reported and referred to relevant authorities. This area also looks at the legal protection in terms of acquiring birth certificate, National registration cards as well as WILL writing for parents/guardians.
- Education & Skills Training: This service focuses on assessing performance progression for both in and out of school children as well as provision of education materials. School monitoring is done so as the caregivers/staff interact with the teachers as well and also during home visits this service can be given to OVC.
- Shelter and Care: this assesses the shelter of the OVC household to check if it is safe and dry, if found not conducive for the children then they are referred to other stakeholders who build or renovate the house. It also focuses on ensuring that children are at all times in the care of someone above 18 years (adult) through sensitising the community.
- Food & Nutrition: focuses on the assessing the food security in OVC households and also monitoring their nutrition and growth by assessing their Middle Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC), review of under 5 cards as well as hold nutritional talks for parent/ guardians/ OVC. If they are malnourished they are referred to the nearest health centre to put on Feeding Programs that the GRZ health institutions have.
As CD provides the above services it works with government stakeholders/ line ministries and other community based organisations to ensure sustainability of the service provision as well as to strengthen the referral and linkage systems on the Copperbelt. We also involve the community leaders and community at large so that there is ownership of these programs. Feedback is given through caregivers and leaders of the community who represent the whole community and this helps in ensuring that we draw lessons from the services being provided.
- Prevention: this area focuses on behaviour change, building self efficacy and developing personal responsibility, increase access to prevention services in the community as well as looking at gender and cultural issues that impact youths’ ability to adopt safe behaviours. It also looks at HIV education tailored to child’s understanding and “Household dialogues” where discussions on risky behavior, and prevention of transmission of HIV to others.