Where We Work

We target countries faced with growing numbers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) due to high HIV prevalence. Each of these countries is not only working to reverse the epidemic’s growth but must also mitigate the impact of HIV on children.

Overview

Our portfolio of countries is largely aligned with the HIV epidemic and the children impacted by HIV or left behind by it. We work in high HIV-burden countries in east and southern Africa: Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland).

We form long-term partnerships and work together with governments and communities to develop innovative solutions to address entrenched challenges, at scale and sustainably.

Adolescents leaning and sharing

Malawi

We are working to aggressively address school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in Malawi. Over 50% of all 14 – 17-year-old children experience some form of SRGBV, and about one-third experience physical violence. Our programming works to improve the ability of both girls and boys to protect themselves from SRGBV through a targeted peer-led curriculum that equips them with knowledge of the manifestations of SRGBV and provides them with the life skills to respond to and report abuses. At the same time, we work with teachers and school personnel to build their awareness of school violence and assist them in creating a safer school environment. Caregivers are sensitized about SRGBV and the importance of girls’ education and encouraged to participate in economic strengthening activities to build household resilience to meet education expenses.

Innovations:

We are piloting school-led fairs called “Bonanzas”, bringing together health and social service providers, promoting positive SRH behavior change uptake and linking adolescents to services such as HIV testing and counseling, or GBV support; these services are made available directly on school grounds and complement our life skills, GBV, and SRH training that are provided in peer-led Protect Our Youth Clubs.

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Social workers

Mozambique

We are implementing evidence-based interventions for populations at greatest risk in areas of highest HIV incidence. Our projects aim to reduce the socioeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS on orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), and caregivers by enhancing the capacity of families and communities to support, protect, and care for OVC and by empowering AGYW to reduce their HIV risk. We implement a comprehensive package of services and activities in education, health, child protection, and household economic strengthening.

We work with more than 15 local implementing partners and collaborate closely with clinical partners and government agencies. The backbone of our implementation strategy is to enhance an HIV-sensitive, community-based case management system. We specifically focus on strengthening community structures and expanding the number of trained community cadres to support a locally driven referral system across 15 districts and 4 provinces in central Mozambique.

Innovations:

We are introducing and scaling up: 1) a 12-day, community-based nutrition rehabilitation program, improving the nutritional status and overall health of HIV+ infants and young children; 2) a mobile One-Stop event that brings together government, community, clinical, and private sector partners to provide a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health services;  and, 3) the “OVC fund,” lead by established savings groups to reach OVC with financial support.

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Happy girl

eSwatini

We are uniquely positioned as both a direct implementer of programming, as well as a key technical partner collaborating with government counterparts for sustainable development at-scale. We deliver programming that supports a range of education, health/HIV, and social protection outcomes. This in-the-field experience lends deep insight into communities, which in turn, leads to successful initiatives as well as the development of programming innovation that addresses the real needs of children and caregivers. As a technical partner to government, we are positioned to support long-term, sustainable change at a systems-level, supporting government at national, regional, and local level to improve its capacity to respond to the needs of eSwatini’s most vulnerable children.

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).

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Smiling kids in school

Tanzania

We work closely with the Government of Tanzania to strengthen communities and local institutions’ capacity to provide a full range of services and opportunities to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. We work with public secondary schools to reduce dropout rates for girls; sensitize communities and local government authorities to support girls who have already dropped out of school; train teachers to prevent and respond to gender-based violence; empower students to act as mentors and influence social-norms change in their communities; address economic barriers in families, schools, and communities that restrict girls’ access to education.

Innovations:

We are equipping teen moms who were forced to drop out of school with social assets, financial literacy, and entrepreneurial skills to help them to achieve stability and health and pursue longer-term goals for growth. We are also piloting an innovative early warning system in secondary schools to identify girls at risk of school drop-out, and providing them with the supports needed to retain them in school.

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Selling dried fish

Uganda

Uganda’s population currently exceeds 40 million and continues to grow rapidly. With 56% of Uganda’s population under the age of 18, Uganda is experiencing a youth bulge, with one of the youngest populations in the world. Many of these youth are faced with acute challenges: nearly 15% of children are orphans, one in four households supports an orphaned child, and 51% (8 million) of children are moderately or critically vulnerable.

We build capacity, coordination, and advocacy at all levels in Uganda—from children and households to community responses to district and national mechanisms—to address service delivery gaps, expand access, and improve service quality. Our efforts complement and strengthen existing local government systems and initiatives.

Innovations:

The Uganda team is innovating several new approaches –  strengthening the child protection response through Closed User Groups (using mobile phones) to enhance networks and link together community and government actors; equipping out of school adolescent youth with proven alternative skills to enable them to earn money  and pursue long term goals; and, addressing sexual and gender based violence through social norms change approaches that engage girls, boys, women and men

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Smiling mechanic

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.

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Our Projects

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