Background Families act as ‘safety nets’ for vulnerable children. The phenomenal increase of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) has weakened the traditional system, paving way for Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to mediate using ‘pooled resources’ to provide care and support to OVC. Experience has shown that trained CBOs provide quality services to OVC in a sustainable manner, within the community standards. This intervention supported CBOs to provide OVC with integrated services from April 2011 to October 2012.
Methods Eighty-five CBOs in southern Nigeria were selected using adapted organisational capacity assessment tool (OCAT) and National selection criteria. They were trained on the skills for delivery of integrated services to OVC, using the National Plan of Action for OVC and Standard Operational Procedures. The CBOs were supported to conduct needs assessment and enrolment of eligible OVC using the Orphans vulnerability index tool. The eligible vulnerable children received integrated services (education, health, nutrition, protection and psychosocial) through the CBOs and Caregivers.
Results Of the 1785 OVC enrolled and served by the CBOs, 1000 (56%) were paternal, 446 (25%)-maternal and 339 (19%) double orphans. The mean age at enrolment was 10 with peak at 6 to 14years (84%). There was un-equal representation, with more females than males (55%:45%). A breakdown of the enrolees on education support, showed that 58.2% were enrolled for primary school education, 39.8% for secondary school and 2% in pre-primary education. Owing to stigma, linked with HIV status disclosures, the status of some OVC could not be ascertained. However, 10% of the 1785 OVC enrolled into the programme were HIV positive.
Conclusion The CBOs have increased access of vulnerable children infected or directly affected by HIV to integrated support services. Investment in the CBOs capacity has promoted community ownership of the project and sustainability.
- Community based organization
- Orphans and vulnerable children