War, poverty, and high rates of HIV have orphaned one million of Uganda’s children, many of whom live with extended families or in child-headed households. More than half are adolescents with especially pressing needs. Orphans and vulnerable children who lack adult supervision often drop out of school. They are also less likely to be aware of HIV prevention information or have the life skills to make safe, healthy decisions.
The government’s National and Other Vulnerable Children’s Policy (NOP) and the National Strategic Program Plan of Interventions for Orphaned and Other Vulnerable Children (NSSPI) have not yet translated into all children receiving the range of care and support they need, and existing interventions remain under-resourced, fragmented, and uncoordinated.
In Uganda, Bantwana works to build the capacity of families, communities, civil society organizations (CSOs), local government, and the private sector to address the long-term, comprehensive needs of vulnerable families. Bantwana’s approach improves and expands tested models of support for orphans and other vulnerable children and their caregivers using a community-based case management approach that strengthens the important role that communities play in identifying, assessing, and referring vulnerable children to the critical services they need.
Case management is an integrated system that links health and social protection services across the HIV continuum and ensures that families and their children are adequately monitored and supported. To this end, Bantwana builds the capacity of and improves coordination between informal, CSO, and government structures by emphasizing linkages between sectors (including between clinical services and community-based socio-economic and social welfare support) and creating clear referral pathways from community (informal) to district (formal) health, protection, and other needed services.
Bantwana programming is aligned with a range of Uganda’s national policies and laws governing children’s rights and protection and works closely with government, CSO, community and private sector partners in 15 districts in the East Central, Northern, and Western regions of Uganda.
Since 2008, Bantwana has provided 5,000 Ugandan children and families with integrated child protection, economic strengthening and psychosocial support in partnership with CSOs and trained community case workers who help families address their basic needs. Child Rights Clubs in schools build children’s agency to understand and know their rights and responsibilities and report abuse. Trained community case care workers are linked to schools to follow up on child protection issues in communities and with district protection staff.
Bantwana also helps 4,277 out-of-school adolescents acquire the skills and supports they need to find decent work in Uganda’s emerging economy using a pathway approach that helps youth build functional numeracy and literacy skills, and, entrepreneurship, work readiness and vocational skills that enable them to start small business. Bantwana engages families, other trusted adults, and links youth to government and other private resources in their communities to support youth on their pathway.
- African Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (AYEDI)
- Better Outcomes and Livelihoods Development for Children and Youth in Eastern and Northern Uganda
- DREAMS Core
- Technical Service Organization – East Central Region (TSO)
- Western Uganda Bantwana Program (WUBP)