Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program (OVC)
The APIN Vulnerable Children (VC) program is implemented in partnership with fourteen (14) Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in three (3) states of Nigeria, namely: Lagos, Oyo and Plateau. The project has made remarkable difference in the lives of over 60,000 children and their caregivers by improving their quality of live through sustainable interventions.
The program adopts a household-centred approach in providing services on a need basis to these families. The core service areas supported include food and nutrition, education and vocational skills acquisition, psychosocial support, protection, shelter and care as well as health care and economic strengthening of the caregivers, in line with the national guidelines, and the new PEPFAR OVC technical guidance.
The goal of APIN’s VC program is to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on orphans and vulnerable children and their households in the various communities by improving the quality of their lives in a sustainable manner.
• To support the care of VC by adopting a family-centred approach in providing them services on a needs basis
• To engage and support the communities in the care of their own through sustainable and innovative interventions
• To build the capacity of the Caregivers as primary care providers and economically strengthen them to care for their households
• To build the capacity of the care providers to provide qualitative and comprehensive VC services, using appropriate tools to document all activities
In order to achieve successful outcomes, APIN collaborates with multiple stakeholders and players, including civil society organizations (CSOs); faith-based organizations (FBOs), the private sector and development partners, State and Federal Ministries of Women Affairs & Social Development, and the communities in the provision of the needed services. This has played a pivotal role to drive the community (bottom-up) response, which is an integral part of sustainability, in addition to ensuring that beneficiaries play a substantive role in all activities to have a sense of belonging and ownership.
To further reduce stigma and discrimination against children living with or affected by HIV, the APIN VC program encourages valued and active participation of children through the monthly kids club activities in the various communities. This collaboration also ensures that the voices of individuals, households and communities, determine advocacy at all levels while also holding government accountable to the VC national response.
Also key to the success of the program is the establishment of effective referral linkages to other support services in the various communities, to ensure provision of comprehensive care package to the households. Besides strengthening the capacity of families to protect and care for these children, core program strategies such as mobilizing and strengthening existing community structures to respond to the needs of these children, taking into cognizance gender and culturally sensitive approaches have been adopted in the delivery of services.
In addition to the current paper-based format for national VC data collection tools in place, the program has initiated the use of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and the District Health Information System (DHIS2), which are electronic databases for capturing, storing and monitoring data on the progress of vulnerable enrolled in the program, with ease of generating periodic reports.
The APIN VC program is coordinated by a team of experienced, dedicated and committed staff, who are responsible for its design, implementation and monitoring. It also seeks to further increase its funding base (through sourcing for more grants/funds) to enable it enroll and care for more vulnerable children/households in much more vulnerable communities in Nigeria.