Through the Pamoja Tuwalee project, the World Education /Bantwana Initiative is building the capacity of families and communities, as well as community volunteer structures (most vulnerable children’s committees and para-social workers), local government authorities, and civil society organizations to address the long-term, comprehensive needs of vulnerable families.
Pamoja Tuwalee (2010-2016) is a comprehensive integrated care and support program for vulnerable children and families funded by USAID/PEPFAR. The Bantwana Initiative implements Pamoja Tuwalee in four regions of Northern Tanzania, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, and Tanga.
Bantwana Initiative is strengthening and expanding existing service delivery platforms for the most vulnerable children in Tanzania. These platforms provide core services that mitigate the impact of HIV on children and families by keeping them healthy, safe, stable and schooled. This reduces vulnerability, prevents new HIV infections, and supports children’s enrollment and retention in anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
Multisectoral platforms aligned with global and national policies, best practices, quality standards, and evidence guiding service delivery for orphans and vulnerable children, include:
- Child rights clubs
- Multi-sectoral school assessments
- Economic strengthening through Livelihoods Improvement for MVC Care (LIMCA)
- Community nutrition assessments and education
World Education/Bantwana Initiative’s advocacy platform mobilizes local councils to plan, budget, and support most vulnerable children at the local level by strategically leveraging existing national policies and guidelines (summarized in the Most Vulnerable Children Care and Support Policy Guide – see box) to persuade and guide council decision-makers on prioritizing, planning, and budgeting for MVC care and support. Advocacy is an iterative and ongoing process rather than a distinct one-off activity. The advocacy process involves sensitization materials, dissemination, policy implementation workshops, joint planning sessions to produce a “Most Vulnerable Children Action Plan,” and close follow up to ensure that the action plan items are included as part of the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) annual exercise.
Child rights clubs prevent and respond to violence against children and also reduce school dropout and truancy by equipping children with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to speak out and take action on the social issues affecting their lives. Bantwana Initiative developed an interactive and child-friendly curriculum called “Protecting Ourselves and Each Other” that peer leaders can use to facilitate sessions in clubs with oversight from trained patrons/matrons.
Child rights clubs bring children together in a safe and friendly environment to actively involve them in understanding their rights and responsibilities, how and where to report abuse, and actions they can take to protect themselves and others. Club members also plan collectively for ways to share their experiences and messages with the larger community through community theatre, dance, and songs with social messages. These activities empower club members and educate communities about the importance of preventing and responding to violence against children.
Recognizing that a low-cost multisectoral approach is needed to strengthen coordination mechanisms and address data deficiencies at the council level for improved planning, budgeting and service provisioning for most vulnerable children, Bantwana Initiative developed the Multisectoral School Assessment as an entry point to launch activities in schools and communities. The Multisectoral School Assessment is embedded in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s “school health assessment” methodology, and engages schools, school communities, most vulnerable children committees, and local government authorities to ensure most vulnerable children receive the care and support they need. Multisectoral School Assessment objectives are to:
- Identify children with immediate health, nutrition, protection or psychosocial support needs and provide appropriate referrals where necessary.
- Strengthen relations and coordination between schools, communities, and local government authorities to using locally available resources in line with national policy to address the needs of most vulnerable children.
World Education/Bantwana promotes resiliency in families affected by and vulnerable to HIV through member-managed savings and credit groups called Livelihoods Improvement for MVC Care (LIMCA). The LIMCA model is a sustainable way of empowering vulnerable households to meet the education and health needs of children in the long term.
Bantwana integrates complementary interventions in nutrition and child protection into the savings groups’ regular activities through facilitated discussions led by community volunteers designed to inform and empower caregivers to enhance the well-being of the children in their care. The LIMCA model also includes Most Vulnerable Children funds. Most Vulnerable Children Funds are generated by LIMCA groups and are used to support vulnerable children in the community with food for nutritional support, scholastic materials, and transportation fees to access health and child protection services.
Community nutrition assessment and education uses the national nutrition assessment counseling and support (NACS) materials developed by the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC) and FANTA 3 project to:
- Assess the nutritional status of children through anthropometric measurements (weight and height) and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC);
- Provide nutrition education to MVC caregivers, including good sanitation and hygiene to prevent infections that cause malnutrition as well as demonstrations of how to prepare a balanced meal using locally available foods; and
- Provide coordinated multisectoral support through referrals including HIV testing and counseling referrals for severely and moderately malnourished MVC, health and disability referrals, referrals for specialized food products such as plumpy nut, and MVC registration.
To enhance local ownership, district/city medical officers are responsible for mobilizing the CNAE team which is comprised cross-cutting involving all stakeholders.
 Technical considerations provided by PEPFAR Technical Working Groups for 2015 COPS and ROPS; PEPFAR OVC Guidance 2012; Children in Adversity, 2012, and the Tanzania National Costed Plan of Action for Most Vulnerable Children II.