Zimbabwe

Our programs in Zimbabwe scale-up innovative community-based integrated models—for health, HIV prevention and continuum of care, social protection, economic strengthening, youth livelihoods, and education—a number of which have been taken up as national and regional best practice.

Zimbabwe

We help vulnerable children and families access critically needed services. Our innovative models of care are based on existing community structures and address children’s comprehensive needs. We strengthen the linkages and referral systems between community and government health and social service providers and have worked closely with the Government of Zimbabwe to develop a national case management system.

We also offer innovative youth work readiness training, comprehensive gender-based violence prevention and survivor programming, and extensive pediatric HIV testing and treatment. We train community cadres in health, social protection, and education to support vulnerable children and caregivers and to link them to health, education, protection, and livelihoods services.

INNOVATIONS:

We are currently implementing the design and roll out of an integrated school-community early warning system for proactively identifying girls most at risk of school dropout and providing them with the support needed to retain them in secondary school. We are also providing targeted assistance to the Department of Social Welfare to utilize mobile technology for more timely community reporting of child protection cases, enabling efficient critical intervention and support services.

Health and HIV

Since 2010, we have worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to expand OVC access to primary health care. Through our collaboration, we have developed an HIV-sensitive case management system that helps refer children to HIV services including testing and treatment; developed data collection tools, which includes assessing for HIV risk and tracking adherence and retention in care plans for HIV+ children; worked with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, to introduce training and clinical mentorship to rural health providers on diagnosis and management of paediatric HIV, counselling, ART initiation, and retention in care; and utilized Multi-Sectoral School Health Assessments to bring together critical primary health and child protection services to vulnerable children through head-to-toe screenings in primary and secondary schools by trained nurses.

Economic Strengthening

Our Youth and Livelihoods activities offer practical life skills training and entrepreneurship opportunities to vulnerable older youth. We combine income-generating skills training with “business coaching” and mentorship from successful professionals. Youth can choose from activities that include budgeting and management, family financial management, and access to consumer credit.

Our Household Economic Resilience and Savings model stabilizes families as they gradually progress along a pathway from vulnerability to resilience. This intervention combines Internal Savings and Lending Groups facilitated by Community-Based Trainers with market linkages and business skills training provided by private sector partners and coaches for Income Generating Activities.

Education

For non-formal alternatives for secondary school age children and children with disabilities for whom reintegration is more difficult, we provide life skills training, as well as a Part-Time and Continuing Education and inclusive education program, which includes the strengthening of community learning sites and advocating for inclusion of children with disabilities and older youth in the formal education sector. Due to our continued efforts to advocate for out of school children and those with disabilities, we have an existing Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to continue carrying out non-traditional education programs including supporting mothers to improve their parenting skills, linking children to community case workers through their school, and referring caregivers to income-generating opportunities to help them afford critical healthcare and educational services.

Social Protection

We work closely with the Department of Social Welfare to build and deliver the National Case Management System, and intimately understand its functionality, strengths, weaknesses, and challenges politically and in the field. To date, we have trained over 1,300 community caseworkers (CCWs) to identify, assess, refer, and support vulnerable children and families to access critically needed social protection services (education, child protection, household economic strengthening, nutrition, GBV, and psychosocial support). We have introduced and tested HIV-sensitive case management training for CCWs and Department of Social Welfare Officers; we developed an expanded HIV/GBV risk assessment tool for CCWs to use during home visits with at-risk children, as well as their caregivers; and piloted an integrated HIV and social protection case management model in Zvimba District using these tools.

To further improve the National Case Management System, we launched the Management Information System (MIS) in conjunction with the Department of Social Welfare and Probation Services in 2015 to improve the efficiency and accountability of the national case management system. Through the MIS, we identified key challenges and risks, such as infrastructural limitations, shortages of human resources, and decreasing engagement among MIS users. We are now ensuring the system and its users have the capacity to generate and utilize evidence for planning and decision making from the National to District level.

Systems Strengthening

We provide technical support to national and local government ministries in education, child protection, and health interventions for vulnerable children, youth and their families. We helped pilot, develop, and roll-out Zimbabwe’s flagship National Case Management System, which was adopted by the Government of Zimbabwe in 2012 as part of its policy for the care and protection of children and serves as a successful model for other countries in the region. We also developed innovative case management components such as the Early Warning System to keep adolescent girls and young women in school as well as HIV sensitive and GBV sensitive training materials for community caseworkers to counsel, support and refer girls and young women for appropriate clinical and counseling services.

We have worked closely with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to develop its Non-Formal Education Policy and resuscitate its Part-Time Continuing Education (PTCE) set up for children who have dropped out of school, which builds on our accelerated learning programming approach. Finally, we have supported the Ministry of Health and Child Care by providing increased access to treatment and care for children living with HIV through complementary community and facility interventions that include strengthening the capacity of nurses and district level clinics to test and treat pediatric patients.

Adolescent Girls and Youth

We address the structural drivers of HIV affecting adolescent and young girls through comprehensive GBV prevention and care services (including health, legal services, psychosocial support, and emergency shelters); formal and non-formal education for vulnerable girls and teen mothers; social protection services to strengthen family and caregiver responses to HIV/AIDS through parenting support groups and case management; and economic empowerment and resilience building that reduces girls’ vulnerability through livelihoods training and employability opportunities.

Through our layered approach, we ensure each adolescent girl or young woman in our program receives this core package of services. We have tailored programs for those most at risk of HIV, including AGYW who dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school due to poverty; those forced into early marriage due to harmful religious and cultural practices; teenage mothers; young women with no vocational/life skills; those exposed to GBV; and those with limited access to HIV-related services.

tested for HIV and 10,904 initiated on ART through Expanded IMPACT

reached with GBV prevention information through Vana Bantwana

assisted through savings groups through Vana Bantwana

Success Story

It is every little girl’s dream to make her father proud. But for Claris Chada, age 23 years, that hope was taken away in 2010 when her father died, leaving her and her five siblings with no breadwinner. As the economic situation in Zimbabwe deteriorated, Claris found herself engaged in risky sexual behavior, partly motivated by a need for money to cover her basic needs but also by a longing to move away from home and not be a burden to her mother. With limited economic options and no access to capital for any significant endeavors, Claris begun petty trading, selling boiled eggs, sweets and crisps—anything that could help her support her family. She even resorted to working illegally as a till operator outside of the country.

 

Claris’ father had been a promising mechanic before he died and so when she saw the Siyakha Girls advertisement for young women interested in employment in auto mechanics (or textile manufacturing or leather working), she was thrilled to have the chance to follow in her father’s footsteps and carry on his legacy. After undergoing ASPIRES foundational training on life skills, job preparation, and financial literacy, Claris and 47 other participants completed eight to nine weeks of vocational training following an interactive, practical, hands-on curriculum to equip them withthe skills needed to enter their industry of interest.

 

To learn more about Claris, read our blog.

Testimonials

The Work Readiness Program is a very good program. It helps youth gain a belief in their ability to become self – reliant and productive citizens. Many came into the training with a negative attitude about their future, but after the training, the youth have started making more calculated plans for their future and are ready to advance their careers.

Nutrition camp
anonymous beneficiary