At MJAP, we know that the diverse effects of HIV/AIDS have left many children vulnerable at a tender age. That is why through our OVC program, we support children orphaned as a result of the epidemic.
The OVC beneficiaries are identified from:
a) children receiving HIV care and treatment
b) children of HIV infected patients within the clinics we support, and
c) HIV Exposed infants
To determine and provide tailor-made support, OVC household’s assessment is conducted as recommended by the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD).
MJAP offers a package of services including:
- HIV care and treatment for those infected
- household economic strengthening (HES)
- parenting skills
- psycho-social support
- provision of information on child rights and protection
- counseling and career guidance, and facilitating access to education through provision of scholastic materials.
Our OVC care and support is integrated into existing child medical services during clinic appointments as well as at homes. At the district level, we work with the District Probation Office, District Health Teams, Health unit In-charges, health workers and District Education Officers for referrals and linkages. In the community, the program assimilates with existing community/institution structures such as schools, community and religious leaders, and community volunteers (VHTs, Peer Educator).
For additional OVC services that are not directly provided by MJAP, we make referrals/linkages to other services providers. OVC services are offered in Kampala within a radius of <30km from Mulago; and in Mbarara district. MJAP provides training to care givers of OVC in the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) model; which includes: group formation; Income Generating Activities (IGAs) selection, planning and management; financial literacy; business skills; marketing, and utilization of savings from the VSLA as a start-up capital.
Following the training, MJAP provides in kind start-up capital for the most vulnerable which is based on the realized capacity and interest of the beneficiary. MJAP links the saving groups to community microfinance institutions to enable them access loans to establish and expand their IGAs.
Based on past best experience, MJAP is implementing an innovative household development plan. Each OVC household is guided along the pathway towards enhanced self-reliance. All the socio-economic interventions focus on creating opportunities for the OVC households for resource mobilization, advocacy and self-sustainability strategies to respond to the unique needs and vulnerabilities guided by fine-tuned household needs assessment. MJAP uses a standardized approach to address the specific needs of the identified vulnerable households as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach.
In addition, OVC who have dropped out of school and are transitioning into adulthood are identified and placed in training sites for market linked hands on skills development in careers of their choice. To ensure that vulnerable children are tested for HIV, the OVC team together with clinic management, sensitize care givers during “know your child’s HIV status” campaigns.
Additionally, we integrate the children’s rights approach to support creation of an enabling environment in which children – especially girl children are valued and cared for, protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation. To ensure a sustainable and comprehensive service response to the needs HIV positive children/adolescents, youths and their families, special emphasis is put on integration of OVC support. Adolescent peer supporters create demand of services and monitor all children and young people receiving care, treatment and support. All OVC receive medical services such as immunization for the under-fives, routine de-worming and treatment for common childhood infections. The malnourished OVC are referred to nutrition rehabilitation units in the Mulago and Mbarara Hospitals. In addition, the households in Mbarara identified with nutritional gaps are linked to the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) program to receive farming knowledge and skills.