Hope for the child affected by HIV and AIDS in Kenya
E.K. Gwan1, J. Ajema2, D. Dortzbach3, E. Nganga4
1World Relief, Health and Social Development, Baltimore, United States, 2World Relief Corporation, Kenya Country Office, Nairobi, Kenya, 3World Relief Corporation, Health and Social Development, Baltimore, United States, 4World Relief Corporation, Kenya Technical Unit, Nairobi, Kenya
Issues: HIV/AIDS contributes 46% to the 2.4 million orphans in Kenya, exceeding the African extended family safety net capacity. In 2008, over 38,000 children were neglected while nearly 3,000 had been abandoned by their parents. Increasing numbers of vulnerable children fend for themselves. Caregiver numbers dwindle as parents die and care reverts to the elderly and older orphans. Droughts and famine undermine school attendance as hunger interferes with concentration in class, affecting performance with resultant dropouts. Malnutrition, identified as the major barrier to universal primary education in Kenya, is a huge problem in rural areas where famine also affects livestock, the primary source of income for pastoralists.
Method: In the last five years Hope for Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in Kenya, Zambia and Haiti”, a USAID funded program has built the capacity of churches and communities to provide care and support to 2500 OVC and 170 caregivers. Communities have been educated to identify local resources like time, communal activities and human resources that are used to meet the daily needs of the children. OVC household needs are assessed and responded to, from a comprehensive menu including psychosocial and spiritual support, legal services, education, vocational training, health, and food supplies.For sustainability the program enables OVCs and their households to achieve food security through small livestock, vegetable gardens, and training in agriculture and animal husbandry. Caregivers come together in care groups for mutual support through social and economic projects like merry-go rounds, group savings and small micro finance activities.
Lessons learned: As a relief program each community received supported for only one year. Churches and communities appreciate their sensitization to resources and skills within their reach. OVCs can receive care even in resource poor communities.
Way forward: Longer term projects are necessary to ensure strong community ability to fully support OVC needs including educational assistance.
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