Eswatini

In Eswatini, Bantwana operates through World Education as an international non-profit organization, as well as through its locally registered affiliate, Bantwana Eswatini, providing technical assistance and delivering programs for HIV-impacted vulnerable children, youth and caregivers. We also partner with government to strengthen social welfare, health and education systems to respond to and mitigate the impacts of HIV, gender-based violence, and poverty.

Eswatini

Locally incorporated since 2008, Bantwana Eswatini has evolved into a driving force in program innovation delivering integrated socio-economic, health/HIV, social and child protection, and education interventions with local partners. Rooted in scalable community-based approaches, we are a direct implementer of programming, as well as a key technical partner collaborating with government counterparts for sustainable development at-scale.

Bantwana Eswatini delivers layered innovations around evidence-based curricula, using family-centered and positive youth development approaches that build the assets and agency of youth to mitigate HIV and GBV, and meaningfully participate in their families and communities. Cross-cutting social norms change approaches empower youth and women, and engage men and other key influencers to address unequal gender and social norms that underpin all forms of violence. We adopt an integrated approach to programming, and implement activities collaboratively with community leaders, community based facilitators/community cadres, government departments, coordinating bodies, technical partners and other implementing partners, enabling comprehensive services and linkage of children, adolescents and families into a continuum of care and support.

We provide technical assistance to the Department of Social Welfare and the Ministry of Education and Training to strengthen the national social welfare system, health and education sectors, and scale sustainable, evidence-driven programming.

COVID-19 Response

Since March 2020, Bantwana has delivered results within the COVID-19 context, pivoting programming for remote and restricted delivery based on COVID-19 regulations, adapting programming activities, providing remote working tools and upskilling community cadres and field officers, and adapting job aids and service delivery protocols within the COVID-19 landscape. Bantwana delivered supportive supervision and adapted trainings to innovatively reach targets. The minimum package of services was critical to build capacity of OVC, AGYW and caregivers and support identification, referrals and retention to treatment.

Community cadres used mobile devices, with remote facilitators providing guidance to track, provide basic support and link beneficiaries to services.

Bantwana supported MOET/ETGPS unit to adapt and deliver the HIV-focused life skills education program through radio, continuing to reach school learners with the needed psychosocial, mental health, and service provider information.

With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Bantwana continues with small group activities and home visits under strict adherence to the MOH and WHO COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Pact’s Insika ya Kusasa (USAID/PEPFAR funded Triple R) program acknowledged Bantwana’s high performance (95% of DREAMS targeted AGYW, 100% of OVC target in FY21) and challenged other implementing partners to learn from Bantwana.

INNOVATIONS: 

The programming team is currently innovating break-through approaches to retain adolescent girls in school through an Early Warning System; reach adolescent girls with protective assets through mobile technology, and; curb stunting and developmental delays of infants through approaches targeting the first 1000 days of a child’s life (Early Childhood Stimulation and nutrition).

Health and HIV

We work closely with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Training, and clinical and CSO partners to deliver community-based HIV and GBV prevention and response programming that mitigates impact, decreases risk, and delivers differentiated and optimized treatment outcomes and links beneficiaries to services.

PEPFAR OVC Programming: We are a key OVC implementing partner, having delivered PEPFAR programming since 2015, leveraging long-standing relationships and trust in communities in all regions of the country. We currently hold 50% of the Pact-primed Triple R program (also known as Insika Ya Kusasa), delivering HIV prevention and impact mitigation activities in 6 Tinkhundla, reaching 11,368 OVC and 5,557 AGYW (15-29 years) annually. Interventions include HIV prevention and protective assets programming; business mentorship and Worth savings and lending groups; COVID-19 awareness and vaccine mobilization and linkages; and impact mitigation activities for HIV, gender based violence/violence against children (GBV/VAC) beneficiaries, leveraging 156 community volunteers, 9 C/ALHIV support groups (Teen Clubs) and HTS referrals.

Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: Bantwana is a leading organization reaching and successfully engaging 14,752 boys and young men (ABYM) through numerous Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) projects. Since 2015, Bantwana has actively mobilized, sensitized and linked ABYM aged 10-29 years into VMMC services and has consistently reached its annual targets and mobilized for multiple clinical partners including FLAS, CHAPS, ICAP and Georgetown University, and directly into government VMMC integration sites, including Mankhayane, Good Shepherd and RFM hospitals, Matsanjeni, Siphofaneni and Sithobela clinics. Bantwana employs several models to sensitize and mobilize uptake of VMMC among ABYM in the 15-29 priority age group. School-based demand creation interventions typically account for well over 50% of completed referrals, underscoring Bantwana’s strong school-based relationships and performance. Bantwana routinely exceeds targets early, enabling absorption of additional targets to reach. To date, Bantwana has successfully linked 7,722 boys and young men to VMMC services across all 4 regions of Eswatini.

DREAMS: Bantwana has delivered DREAMS and DREAMS-like programming since its inception in 2015, and continues to do so through its work with the Insika Ya Kusasa program. Between 2016 and 2019, Bantwana delivered the DREAMS Innovation Challenge program, reaching 1,635 in-school and out of school AGYW with a mentor-driven, social protective assets curriculum to reduce HIV risk, increase resilience, and provide linkages to HTS; and provided robust supports to 322 teen mothers (15-24 years) in Siphofaneni and Sithobela Tinkhundla to access alternative education classes in primary, lower and higher secondary schools, and with financial literacy and income generating activities. An evidence-based and robust Mentorship Program engaged family and community leaders, and retained adolescent girls in secondary school.

National HIV-focused Life Skills Education (LSE) Program in all Secondary Schools: Since 2011, Bantwana has collaborated with the Ministry of Education and Training to develop and launch the national LSE program. Bantwana supported the National Curriculum Center and Guidance & Counselling Departments to standardize HIV prevention education for all in-school adolescents, developing the LSE syllabi, parallel HIV-focused LSE Facilitator Guides for Forms 1–5. In 2016, with funding from CANGO/Global Fund and UNICEF, Bantwana trained 32 government officers to become Master LSE Trainers, who trained 1,706 teachers, 200 Head Teachers, 95 Principals, and 87 Deputies in 220 schools to deliver the national LSE curriculum. Bantwana supported Master Trainers to facilitate sensitization meetings with 18,005 parents, caregivers, and community members. In its first year of roll out (2016), Bantwana conducted a Knowledge Attitude Practice (KAP) intervention study (funded by OSISA), which revealed an increase in knowledge on HIV prevention and health promotion among students in treatment schools. With funding from CANGO/Global Fund, Bantwana supported Ministry-led M&E of the program. Bantwana developed national M&E tools, conducted qualitative and quantitative evaluation to monitor school uptake and challenges, and guided the MOET to provide supportive supervision, conduct refresher trainings, and address school–level barriers. Through these efforts, the LSE program is well-established in 272 secondary/high schools in Eswatini, reaching over 80,000 adolescents annually with HIV-prevention and life skills education.

School-based Integrated Health Programming: Praised by the MOH and MOET, the Bantwana Schools Integrated Health Program (BSIP) used schools as platforms for integrated HIV service delivery to 15,000 vulnerable adolescents annually. BSIP built the capacity of school stakeholders to introduce/manage ASRH/HIV prevention education, mentorship, and livelihoods activities and, through leveraged funding, reinvigorated Swaziland’s School Health Outreach Program to bring basic health screening, vaccination, referrals for HIV, and health education to 18,000 children annually.

Economic Strengthening

With the realities of endemic poverty rife across Eswatini, we embed economic strengthening interventions into much of our programming, providing a layered approach of support to our beneficiaries, including vulnerable adolescents. These include village savings and loan models, financial literacy, entrepreneurial training, and income generating activities (IGAs), and more. Interventions are contextualized to the needs of the target population and empower participants to increase their economic independence, strengthen their social support networks, and help to curb the drivers of HIV for girls and women in particular.

Education

We work closely with communities and Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) to re-matriculate out-of-school youth into formal school and provide alternative educational pathways as needed. Our Early Warning System, being piloted through break-through mobile technology, works to identify youth at risk of dropping out, and provides the key supports needed to retain them in school. Our proven Mentor Program provides critically needed coaching and life support to youth to maintain them on their educational path. We are working to reach more adolescents at scale, delivering a mobile-based protective assets curricula, with built-in early warning system and GBV screening tools.

We collaborate with the MoET to deliver HIV-prevention and Life Skills Education to all secondary school students in the country (forms 1 -5), reaching over 100,000 students annually.

Our early childhood development (ECD) programming is aligned with the Nurturing Care Framework and with emerging best practices relative to place-based education, and our ECD Centers integrate elements of learner-centered, experiential learning, and connect learning to communities through key partnerships.

Our Early Childhood Stimulation (ECS) programming targets babies born in extreme poverty, who are at risk of disrupted brain development due to poor nutrition and under-stimulation. We employ an evidence-based program offering a sustainable, community-based, integrated package to HIV-impacted (PMTCT) mothers and babies, as well as teen mothers. Mobile messaging on ECS reinforces early childhood stimulation trainings and information, delivering a menu of interactive voice response (IVR) messages to mothers.

 

Child Protection

Safeguarding children and vulnerable youth and providing access to post-abuse services is a necessity across our programs. We partner with government, communities, school systems, children, and parents to develop a range of mechanisms to prevent, mitigate and respond to violence against children.

Positive Parenting and Family-based Care: Bantwana’s family centered approach works to improve the capacity of caregivers to provide care and support that nurtures child development through positive parental oversight, mitigates stress and conflict, increases communication, and decreases abuse. Bantwana also collaborates with community structures to support OVC households to remain and stay together, working to enhance communication and decision making, participation, and improve the shelter in which children live. Caregivers and young people are capacitated to ensure that children have at least one adult who provides care, protection and support in a family-based care setting.

Right to Identity: Bantwana collaborates with community leaders and the Birth, Marriages and Death (BMD) Department in the Ministry of Home Affairs to register OVC and youth and facilitate their access to Birth Certificates and national identity documents. This work complements the government’s effort to increase birth registration from the current rate of ~54%, and provides a critical gateway to accessing government services, benefits, and core human rights.

Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response: We work across the socioecological spectrum to mitigate and respond to gender-based violence (GBV). We equip women and adolescent girls, including girls and young women with disabilities, with social and protective assets and life skills to reduce their risk of GBV, increase their agency, empower them to navigate harmful gender norms, and promote health-seeking behaviors. We provide community-based direct access to GBV prevention and response services, including medical, legal and social services. We engage caregivers with positive parenting training, and work with men and boys as partners in violence prevention and social norms change. We support the Ministry of Education and Training to strengthen school-related GBV prevention and response, and support government to develop robust post-abuse response systems through a strengthened national case management system and a stronger social welfare workforce.

Psychosocial Support (PSS): The children our programs support struggle with poverty, poor health including HIV, abuse, family loss, and barriers to education with limited or no availability of support services. Psychosocial support (PSS) is a key facet of our comprehensive approach. Front-line workers are trained to provide basic PSS to children, and link those in need of further support to necessary health and social services, often through a tracked case management system of care. Psychosocial support approaches are further layered onto club- or curriculum-based programming that engages vulnerable populations, including parents/caregivers, with content that builds their resilience. With PSS as a core aspect of our programming, we are better able to respond to and meet the ongoing emotional, social, and spiritual needs of children as they face life’s challenges.

National Case Management System: Bantwana provides lead technical support to the Department of Social Welfare (in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office), developing the National Child Protection Case Management System, adapted and strengthened the National Case Management System data management, and trained the national child protection social welfare workforce. Across this work, Bantwana guided government counterparts to build a standardized and coordinated National Child Protection Case Management System, in line with the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act, 2012, to ensure timely case handling and access to services for abuse victims and their families.

Digital Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS): Bantwana supports the digitization of the child protection and GBV data management system. Bantwana is currently developing a national system with Government Computer Services and the Royal Science and Technology Park in the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, for improved GBV and child protection case management, reporting and informed decision making for the country.

Social Welfare Workforce Strengthening: We collaborate with the Department of Social Welfare to build the capacity of the social welfare workforce and community volunteer networks, aligned to national frameworks, policies and referral pathways. These systems track case closure rates, referral completion rates, and other targeted orphan and vulnerable children case management metrics.

Systems Strengthening

We are a longstanding partner to government, building the capacity of ministry departments to respond to the critical health, social and educational needs of vulnerable children. We work closely with and have built national systems, programs and workforce capacity of the Department of Social Welfare in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office and the Guidance and Counseling Unit of the Ministry of Education and Training.

We collaborate closely with the government on all of our programs, working at community level to address needed supports and services, while collaborating with government counterparts to ensure programming is designed and delivered with scale and government uptake in mind.

National Case Management System: Bantwana provides lead technical support to the Department of Social Welfare (in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office), developing the National Child Protection Case Management System, adapted and strengthened the National Case Management System data management, and trained the national child protection social welfare workforce. Across this work, Bantwana guided government counterparts to build a standardized and coordinated National Child Protection Case Management System, in line with the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act, 2012, to ensure timely case handling and access to services for abuse victims and their families.

Digital Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS): Bantwana supports the digitization of the child protection and GBV data management system. Bantwana is currently developing a national system with Government Computer Services and the Royal Science and Technology Park in the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, for improved GBV and child protection case management, reporting and informed decision making for the country.

Social Welfare Workforce Strengthening: We collaborate with the Department of Social Welfare to build the capacity of the social welfare workforce and community volunteer networks, aligned to national frameworks, policies and referral pathways. These systems track case closure rates, referral completion rates, and other targeted orphan and vulnerable children case management metrics.

National Life Skills Education for Secondary School Students: Bantwana’s collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) on the Life Skills Education (LSE) Program dates back to 2011, when Bantwana successfully advocated with the Ministry to formalize HIV prevention education as a part of its national curricula, resulting in the LSE Program, launched in July 2015. Bantwana worked with the National Curriculum Center and Guidance & Counselling Departments of the MOET to standardize HIV prevention education for all in-school adolescents, developing the LSE syllabi, parallel HIV-focused LSE Facilitator Guides for Forms 1–5, and subsequently developed age-appropriate entertainment-education game-based supplementary materials. In 2016, Bantwana and the National Curriculum Centre trained 32 government officers to become Master LSE Trainers, who trained 1,706 teachers, 200 Head Teachers, 95 Principals, and 87 Deputies in 220 schools to deliver the national LSE curriculum. Bantwana supported Master Trainers to facilitate sensitization meetings with 18,005 parents, caregivers, and community members. Since 2016, Bantwana has supported Ministry-led M&E of the program, developing national M&E tools, conducting qualitative and quantitative evaluation to monitor school uptake and challenges, and guiding the MOET to provide supportive supervision, conduct refresher trainings, and address school–level barriers. Through these efforts, the LSE program is well-established in 272 secondary/high schools in Eswatini, reaching over 80,000 adolescents annually with HIV-prevention and life skills education.

Schools Health Outreach Program: Praised by the Ministry of Health and MOET, the Bantwana Schools Integrated Program (BSIP) used schools as platforms for integrated HIV service delivery to 15,000 vulnerable adolescents annually. BSIP built the capacity of school stakeholders to introduce/manage ASRH/HIV prevention education, mentorship, and livelihoods activities and reinvigorated the Ministry of Health’s School Health Outreach Program to bring basic health screening, de-worming, referrals for HIV, and health education to 18,000 children annually.

Adolescent Girls and Youth

We reach vulnerable in- and out-of-school adolescent girls and youth with a holistic suite of programming to aggressively address harmful gender norms, increase well-being, resilience, and access to healthy, stable futures; respond to gender-based violence (GBV) and post-abuse care, and; decrease their risk to HIV. Through DREAMS and other programming, we deliver evidence-based life skills and protective assets curricula, re-matriculate out-of-school youth into formal school and provide alternative educational pathways as needed. Our Early Warning System, being piloted through break-through mobile technology, works to identify youth at risk of dropping out, and provides the key supports needed to retain them in school. Our proven Mentor Program provides critically needed coaching and life support to youth to maintain them on their path to recovery. We are working to reach more adolescents at scale, delivering a mobile-based protective assets curricula, with built-in early warning system and GBV screening tools.

and young men tested for HIV and provided VMMC

and caregivers reached annually with HIV and gender-based violence services

reached annually with HIV and life skills education

Success Story

Happy to be in school

Sakhile Vilakati, age 21, lives in Siphofaneni in the Lubombo region of Eswatini. Since both of her parents passed away nine years ago, she has been living with her guardian, who is unemployed. After taking her Junior Certificate exams and passing only 3 of the 5 required subjects, Sakhile was not eligible to transition to high school, nor did she have the financial means to pay for her school fees. She dropped out of school in 2015 and then had a child in 2017.

When Sakhile’s Community Councilor informed her about the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, she saw the project as an opportunity to fulfill her dream of returning to school.

To learn more about Sakhile’s story, read our blog.

Testimonials

Without education, one’s life is doomed and more girls in the community want to be a part of the project. I am grateful, as this Dreams Innovation Challenge (DREAMS IC) project has fulfilled my dream of continuing with my studies.

Mother with baby
beneficiary