BLC Project Legacy Document 3: Strengthening and expanding capacity to deliver needs-based services for orphans and vulnerable children

Management Sciences for Health (MSH), BLC Project

The challenge in southern Africa

The HIV epidemic has contributed to a large number of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in southern Africa, particularly in Lesotho and Namibia as a result of their high HIV prevalence rates. One in every three children in Lesotho is an OVC, and nearly half (45%) of all households are caring for at least one orphan. In Namibia, one out of every five children is an OVC.

Vulnerable children are more susceptible to factors contributing to HIV infection, such as extreme poverty and physical and psychological abuse. These factors can have a detrimental effect on a child’s development, limiting access to quality education, services, and opportunities. Moreover, a child’s survival and success are largely dependent on a nurturing environment. However, national responses to the needs of OVC in the southern African region have not been well coordinated or evidence-based, with activities frequently implemented in the absence of appropriate standards.

Early childhood care and development (ECCD) has a significant impact on a child’s future educational performance by ensuring a smooth transition to primary education. It has been shown that effective ECCD programs result in physically and emotionally healthier children, encourage greater social equity, and benefit caregivers as well as children. However, the quality of ECCD in the region is variable, with limited evidence from which programs can draw expertise and guidance. In addition, these programs are rarely integrated with other essential interventions, such as HIV testing and nutritional screening and support.

A regional response: the BLC project

The Building Local Capacity for Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa Project (BLC), implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is responding to these challenges in its work to support the response to OVC, in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has focused on the countries of Lesotho and Namibia to:

  • Strengthen the coordination of structures and interventions for improved OVC services (including enhanced access, quality, and sustainability).
  • Use evidence to inform programming and become more responsive to emerging data as well as national, regional, and international priorities and guidelines.
  • Provide organizational and technical capacity development to civil society organizations (CSOs) providing services to OVC and their caregivers. This includes improving monitoring and reporting by CSOs and other agencies to track and report on services provided, guide service delivery, and share promising practices and lessons learned.

A systems approach: working at all levels

BLC’s technical approach is characterized by capacity improvement and technical assistance at multiple levels to strengthen the various sectors that comprise the system of care, and promote linkages and coordination among them.

Read more about BLC’s approach, services, results, lessons learned, recommendations and tools in this publication.

September 2, 2015
Year of publication
orphans and vulnerable children (OVC), OVC, MSH BLC, Lesotho, Namibia, SADC, Southern African Development Community (SADC), vulnerable children, child development, early childhood care and development (ECCD), ECCD programs, OVC response, OVC services, caregivers, capacity improvement, Technical Assistance

Similar Resources

In our sixth issue, we have assembled 105 abstracts published from October through December 2018 that feature evidence from Botswana (4), Eswatini (5), Lesotho (2), Malawi (8), Mozambique (6), Namibia (2), South Africa (62), Tanzania (1), Zambia (12) and Zimbabwe (10).

Community-based early childhood development (ECD) centers can be an important focal point for delivering comprehensive services to young children while enhancing the capacity of caregivers, families, and communities to support young children's development.

The AIDSFree HIV Testing Services Community of Practice provides a forum to connect with and learn from peers working in HIV testing services around the world.

Facts and statistics for Southern Africa.

Please click on the images or links below to download your copies of the SHARE poster for World AIDS Day 2012.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to have a devastating, though often invisible, impact on gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) around the world.

Latest PEPFAR program results fact sheet, issued November 2011.

Health Care Waste Management in Uganda Fact Sheet

The Soul City Institute for Health and Development Regional Programme, involving partner organisations in Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, conducted qualitative formative audience research to explore knowledge, attitudes, and practices on sexual and…

In our 8th issue of our Research Digest, we have assembled 64 abstracts published from March through April 2019 that feature evidence from Botswana (2), Eswatini (2), Lesotho (2), Malawi (12), Mozambique (4), Namibia (1), South Africa (32), Tanzania (3), Zambia (11) and Zimbabwe (14).