What We Do

We work with dedicated and innovative community leaders and organizations to build, strengthen, and
sustain the services and systems that care for children.

case managed and referred to social protection and HIV services to date

 receiving critical services annually across Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe

and young women supported by our layered interventions

Robert Hammond Photo - young Bantwana beneficiary in a classroom

Technical Overview

We work in high HIV-burden countries in east and southern Africa: Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

The convergence of poverty, HIV, and gender-based violence has created numerous vulnerable populations, the largest of which are children and adolescent girls. We deliver comprehensive, integrated programming that addresses the complex realities and needs of these children. This includes ensuring access to social and child protection; education; and health, HIV/AIDS and post-abuse services. Bantwana programming works closely with individuals, families, communities, and governments to respond to these critical needs, while addressing the structural drivers of HIV, increase resilience and decrease the risk for and impact of HIV/AIDS.

We deliver comprehensive, family-centered, and differentiated service models that incorporate evidence-based practices and bring together civil society and local government for meaningful sustainability, reach and scale.

We build the capacity of communities, civil society, and governments to coordinate and deliver integrated, comprehensive services to vulnerable children and their families for strengthened access to health and social protection and the HIV continuum of care.

Smiling kids

OVC Core Service Delivery

We have an exemplary track record delivering integrated, comprehensive services that incorporate graduation models to move households with orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) along a continuum towards reduced vulnerability, enhanced stability, and improved outcomes. Using strengths-based and family-centered approaches tailored to the local context, we build the capacity of NGOs, faith-based organizations, host governments, and community volunteer networks. We work closely with partners to optimize program entry points and improve coordination between community-based and facility-based partners. Our evidence-based tools enable purposeful targeting and segmentation to ensure we reach the most vulnerable with tailored interventions to increase resilience and health, and mitigate the impacts of HIV. Bantwana’s integrated service delivery models link beneficiaries to both health and social welfare services, responding to the comprehensive needs of OVC while increasing HIV diagnoses; improved HIV treatment adherence, retention, and viral suppression; and reduce the risk of new infection across multiple age cohorts.

Health screening

Health and HIV

HIV Prevention, Reproductive and Sexual Health Education: We are committed to developing and scaling-up solutions that address the multidimensional health needs of vulnerable children and their families, leveraging multiple entry points for health education and catalyzing access to services. We reach well over 100,000 adolescents annually with HIV prevention and SRH education. We leverage multiple platforms to engage beneficiaries through nationally delivered in-school curricula, out-of-school clubs, and groundbreaking social media and mobile education. Programming reaches in-and out-of-school students, including teen mothers, and is provided to caregivers through parenting interventions.

Access to Health and HIV Services: We deliver innovative mobile, multi-sectoral health initiatives in schools and communities, and strengthens partners’ and inter-ministerial coordination for increased access to care. We address the complex nature of the HIV epidemic across age bands and build local capacity for an integrated response. Bantwana has a proven track record delivering impactful, nationally-adopted models, engaging the most vulnerable communities in high HIV-burden countries. We train community volunteers and work alongside government health service providers to expand access to a range of health and HIV prevention, care and treatment services, with a focus on reaching vulnerable children, women and girls, boys and men, and strengthening linkages between community-based and clinic-based services. Through community-based models and system strengthening, we increase demand for and linkages to HIV testing services (HTS), retention on antiretroviral therapy (ART), enrollment in PMTCT groups, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), and mental health services. Our integrated national case management systems ensure coordination between health and social welfare sectors.

Case Management group photo

Systems Strengthening

We partner closely with government counterparts, working collaboratively with health, education, and social welfare ministries to coordinate and strengthen their systems supporting vulnerable children.

Systems Strengthening of Social Welfare: We collaborate with departments of social welfare to develop national case management systems, drawing on national policy and infrastructure to link abused and neglected children to critically needed health and social welfare services.

Systems Strengthening of Education: We support ministries of education to deliver part-time and continuing education/non-formal education to out-of-school children and teen mothers, who are part of the millions of young people in Africa who have left the formal school system. We also work with these same ministries to roll out Early Warning Systems to retain children in school and reduce school dropout.

Systems Strengthening of HIV Prevention Education: We are helping governments to integrate HIV prevention education into their national curricula, reaching over 100,000 students with HIV prevention and life skills education annually.

Systems Strengthening of Health: We work with ministries of health at national, district, and sub-district levels to strengthen and integrate health and social welfare systems for coordinated care.

Capacity Development: We provide technical and organizational capacity development to local organizations and government ministries.  Through an emphasis on trust, collaboration, and partnership, we approach capacity development holistically and build strong relationships with our partners to promote accountability, transparency, and local ownership through a combination of technical support, organizational strengthening, and the application of tools, assessments, and training.

AGYW Girl

Adolescent Girls and Youth

DREAMS: We reach thousands of in-school and out-of-school girls and teen mothers with mentor programs and access to education, protective assets and life skills, vocational training and job readiness, financial literacy, and linkages to HTC and post GBV services in six countries in east and southern Africa. Our Early Warning Systems prevent drop out and retain youth in school, with the model scaled nationally in Zimbabwe. We reach well over 100,000 adolescents annually with protective assets, HIV prevention and life skills education, and are developing innovative applications for reaching adolescent girls through mobile technology. Our programming links adolescents to services for sexual and reproductive health, HIV, ART, and GBV/post-abuse. We deliver age-appropriate parenting programs to enhance parent-child relationships and communication.

Work Readiness: A key feature of our DREAMS programming, we equip young people with basic financial skills training, and offer a suite of pathways to increased economic resilience through access to continuing education, internships, apprenticeships, vocational training, entrepreneurial opportunities, income generating activities (IGAs), youth VSLAs, and more.

Anti GBV

Social Protection

Case Management

National Case Management Systems: We are a recognized leader in case management with expertise supporting emerging, established, and mature case management systems in low resource and high HIV-prevalence settings. We partner with host governments to develop robust national case management systems aligned to national policy.

Social Workforce Strengthening: We build the capacity of social welfare cadres and community volunteer networks in case management as a pillar of integrated OVC service delivery using methods that build on existing structures and systems. We conduct capacity assessments for social welfare departments; strengthen the social welfare workforce; and develop national case management guidelines, frameworks and standard protocols. We develop effective case conferencing mechanisms to improve multi-sectoral coordination between the community-based social welfare workforce and health facility-based staff, and link protection services to schools through early warning systems.

Case Management Information Systems: We partner with governments to develop and deliver national case management information systems to track case closure rates, referral completion rates, and other targeted OVC case management metrics.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV)

Protective Assets and Norms Change: We equip women and adolescent girls with social and protective assets and life skills related to GBV, HIV, and sexual and reproductive health to reduce their risk to violence, empower them to navigate harmful gender norms, and promote health-seeking behaviors. We simultaneously engage men as partners in violence prevention and social norms change. We work at the community level to foster dialogue around GBV and social norms change, expand women’s support networks and knowledge of their rights, and strengthen reporting mechanisms. We help teachers, school officials, parents, and community members to recognize and address harmful social norms and school practices that perpetuate GBV.

GBV Post-Abuse Response: Our GBV response interventions connect survivors to post-exposure services and medical, legal, and counseling support through a range of platforms, including post-abuse case management to ensure access to services, drop-in centers, emergency shelters, and a transport voucher system. An innovative one-stop mobile service delivery approach brings most of these services to the doorstep of communities while serving as an entry point for referrals.

Selling detergent within team

Economic Strengthening

Savings Groups and Economic Resilience: Our economic strengthening interventions embed village savings and loan models as a core intervention to strengthen the ability of caregivers to meet their children’s needs, including school costs, transport fees to health clinics, and nutritious food. We leverage these savings and loans clubs not only as a means to provide financial literacy and promote a culture of saving and entrepreneurship, but also as a platform to provide additional services, such as parenting skills, GBV and HIV prevention, and support for girls’ education. All savings and loan interventions are highly contextualized to the needs of the target population and empower participants to increase their economic independence and strengthen their social support networks. We also support village savings and loan groups for vulnerable adolescents.

Work Readiness: Our work readiness programs are designed to prepare out of school youth for employment opportunities by developing the necessary skills and networks and linking them to companies for internships and apprenticeships. Our programs equip youth with an integrated package of career guidance, goal setting, life skills, protection, financial and entrepreneurial literacy, and communication skills to prepare them to find decent work in sub-Saharan Africa’s emerging economies.

Children responding in class

Education

Primary and Secondary Education

Part-time and Continuing Education: We support ministries of education to deliver part-time and continuing education/non-formal education to out-of-school children and teen mothers, who are part of the millions of young people in Africa who have left the formal school system. As a part of DREAMS programming, we deliver evidence-based Mentor Programs to provide critical supports needed by out-of-school youth to keep them on track and in-school. Mentors lend support to students, liaise and advocate with caregivers and teachers, and support the re-matriculation of youth into the formal school system where possible.

Early Warning Systems: We work with ministries of education to develop, pilot and roll out Early Warning Systems to retain children in school and reduce school drop-out. Based on the core ABC metrics (Attendance, Behavior, Coursework), our EWS model identifies students at risk of dropping out and provides robust Response Protocols at student, school, caregiver and community level to retain children in school. Our Zimbabwe EWS has been adopted and scaled nationally by the Ministry of Education. We are currently developing an innovative mobile-based EWS to identify and support at-risk secondary school students.

HIV Education: We work with ministries of education to develop syllabi and curricula to deliver national, formal HIV prevention education in secondary schools, reaching 100,000 students annually. We support National Curriculum Centers, and in-service teacher training, as well as the Education Management Information System (EMIS) to monitor quality delivery.

Early Childhood Development and Early Childhood Stimulation 

Our early childhood development (ECD) programming is fulling aligned with the Nurturing Care Framework launched at the 71st World Health Assembly in 2018. We deliver participatory, learner-centered, responsive and emotionally supportive programming to the hardest to reach, most vulnerable children. With a special focus on families and communities as platforms, we educate and empower communities, local volunteers and caregivers to provide nurturing care. Our ECD model further aligns 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.

Brain development is crucial during the first 1,000 days of life; babies born in extreme poverty 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, who are among the most vulnerable populations in Africa. We provide the requisite skills and knowledge on early childhood stimulation and nutrition (ECS) while empowering vulnerable mothers with economic strengthening and access to nutritional supplementation for babies through savings and loan associations and drought-resistant permaculture gardens. Mobile messaging on ECS reinforces early childhood stimulation trainings and information, delivering a menu of interactive voice response (IVR) messages to mothers.

Success Story

Happy and inspired Regina

Regina Alberto, age 16, became the head of her family when she lost her mother to a long illness in 2017 after her father had long since passed away in 2003. Regina and her two younger sisters, ages 13 and 6 months, now live with their grandmother in the Chamba-Manga neighborhood of Beira in the Sofala province of Mozambique. Formerly a small-scale farmer, her grandmother is currently unemployed due to physical health problems and hearing impairment, so Regina’s sisters still depend on her for care and support. She had lost all hope of attending eighth grade since her family no longer had any source of income, nor would she have had the time to study and socialize with her peers.

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


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