Habitat for Humanity Malawi's Program for Orphans and Vulnerable Children

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June 26th 2016
Published: July 25th 2016
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Part of what drew me to this trip was Habitat for Humanity Malawi's focus on orphans and vulnerable children. Below is the description of the program from Habitat for Humanity Malawi's website.


1.0 Background

The HIV&AIDS pandemic, compounded by high levels of poverty and other social challenges such as food insecurity, is the main threat that has subjected many households to loss of sustainable livelihoods and incomes. HIV&AIDS-related deaths have negatively affected the economic production capacity of individuals and families and led to increased household poverty.

Children have found themselves bearing the biggest burden of the HIV & AIDS pandemic and its consequences. According to the UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic (2010), Malawi had an adult HIV prevalence rate of 11%! (MISSING)Although this rate has gone down over the past few years from about 14%!t(MISSING)hanks to sustained HIV prevention efforts, the impact of the epidemic in Malawi over the past three decades continues to be seen in the significantly high proportion of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in the country’s population as many children have lost at least one of their parents before antiretroviral treatment (ARV) became more widely available. UNICEF (2010) estimates that the number of OVC in the country has increased from 937,000 in 2001 to 1,400,000 in 2010, representing a 66%!g(MISSING)rowth in less than a decade. In 2009, it was estimated that there were one million people of all ages living with HIV&AIDS (UNICEF 2010) and 650,000 children orphaned due to AIDS.

HFH Malawi is a non-profit housing organization affiliated with Habitat for Humanity International. It was established in the country in 1986 and is registered with the Malawi NGO Board. It is also a member of Council for Non-Governmental Organization (CONGOMA). By providing simple, descent and affordable housing solutions, HFH Malawi contributes to the improvement of living conditions and transformation of lives of low income and vulnerable families. To-date the organization has served over 11,000 families in 15 districts of Malawi. HFH Malawi is the largest NGO in Malawi focusing on low-cost housing for low income and vulnerable people.

This programme brief presents highlights of our work focusing on Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme, one of our three areas of strategic emphasis (others being Housing Microfinance and Housing Support Service -HSS).

<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />2.0 Highlights of the OVC Programme

The OVC Programme started in 2009 and it is currently being implemented in two districts namely, Mulanje District (Chief Juma and Mthiramanja’s areas) in the Southern Region of Malawi and Salima District (Chief Kalonga’s area) in the Central Region of Malawi. The overall goal of the OVC programme is to improve the living conditions of orphans and other vulnerable children and reduce their vulnerability through the construction of decent, durable houses and provision of other related services.<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /><br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /><br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />2.1 House Designs

This involves construction of 2, 3 and 4 roomed houses according to family sizes. A family of up to 3 members benefit a 2 roomed house; 4 to 7 members a 3 roomed house whilst 8 and above benefit a four roomed house. Each household is also provided with a Ventilation Improved (VIP) toilet to improve sanitation and hygiene. The cost of building the houses varies according to size. On average a four roomed house is now costing $4000 which includes building materials, monitoring, and skilled labour.<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /><br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />2.2. Malaria prevention training

The training involves issues of treating mosquito nets, sanitation and hygiene of the surrounding areas of the house, inside house and ventilation. It also encourages families to go with their wards to the hospital should they see any slight signs and symptoms of malaria which they are also taught. The programme also distributes Insecticide Treated Nets to the beneficiaries (3 nets per household).<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /><br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /><br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />2.3 HIV prevention training

This training takes into consideration that OVC are susceptible to the pandemic especially resulting from lack of material needs. Other well to do people take advantage of their good status to exploit OVC especially girls and sleep with them thereby increasing their vulnerability to contracting deadly virus. It also takes into consideration the fact that by having a descent house, people would want to have sexual relationships with the caregivers or the older OVC so that they can stay with them in the better houses built for them. This training entails teaching them about the spread of the virus, how to prevent it, living positively if they are already positive and many more.<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /><br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />2.4 Vocational Skills Training<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />This component ensures that the older OVC especially those that had dropped out of school have an economic activity that can sustain their lives so that they do not engage in risky behaviours such as stealing, prostitution and others.

<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />2.5 Will writing and Inheritance rights training<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />This training helps the beneficiaries to protect their houses through will writing. It empowers them to ensure that no person grabs the house from the children. The community leaders and other community based organisations are also trained on property rights so that the orphans and vulnerable children are protected. <br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /><br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />2.6 Beneficiary Selection

Initial selection of the families is done by the community members themselves through the Child Protection Workers, community leaders and the Community Based Organization based in the project area.

HFHM staff then verifies the proposed families and ranks the families according to needs and status of the family. Then the process of ranking using HFHM matrix is done to determine which families should be prioritized. Once this is done, official selection of the families is done based on the results of the matrix according available the funds.

<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />2.7 Completed Projects

To-date, a total of 67 families (268 Orphans and vulnerable children) have been served with decent, fully subsidized houses with funding from well wishers both local and international community. Currently a total of 53 (Salima-21, Mulanje-32) houses are being constructed to be completed in December 2012. In the coming year, 2013 a total of 53 houses will also be constructed, some of which with funding from local partners such as the Henwood Foundation Malawi and SOS Children’s Villages Malawi.

<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />Pirani’s family at their half roofed dilapidated house Pirirani(blue browse) at their new built house<br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /><br style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" />3.0 Going Forward

HFH Malawi would like to grow its OVC Programme in Malawi and have greater impact among the vulnerable groups. Emphasis will be placed on developing, nurturing and expanding the OVC programme through partnerships with both national and international donors and volunteers.


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