Author: Mhamba, R. M.
Community-based care, support and protection of the most vulnerable children (MVC) by the Department of Social Welfare, in collaboration with the UNICEF, consist of four important components: (i) Community dialogue, which is aimed at advocacy and mobilization of the communities to respond, (ii) Community facilitation in the identification of criteria – or indicators – of vulnerability in the community; (iii) Using the community's identified vulnerability criteria – or indicators to identify the most vulnerable children in the community; (iv) Mobilization of community resource contribution (human, material and financial) to support the identified MVC in the community; (v) Apart from community dialogue and the identification of the MVC by members of the community, the implementation of the MVC program also constitutes provision of matched fund contributions by the respective District council and UNICEF.
The MVC program impact assessment sought to enable the community to assess the extent to which the program is institutionalized and owned by the community. This includes, among others, assessing the community's commitment to the programme as well as the existence of organizational support to provide the required human and material resources from different stakeholders. Furthermore, the assessment sought to develop community-based indicators for the monitoring and evaluation of the MVC program and to facilitate communities in Musoma Rural to undertake self-assessment and analysis on the implementation and impact of the MVC Programme. Lastly, to come up with specific measures to address the gaps identified and to be able to build on the positive achievements for which the process has been a catalyst.
Data collection procedures included reviewing and consolidating information on the MVC support program from material available in-house (Department of Social Welfare, UNICEF and Musoma District Council; field data collection from six villages i.e. two villages with better performance, two villages with average performance and two with poor performance.
Findings and Conclusions:
Findings from this impact assessment show that the MVC is not yet adequately institutionalized and owned by the community in Musoma Rural. This is indicated by the lack of the community's commitment to the program as well as the inadequacy of organizational support by leaders at all levels (District, Ward and Village). This has, to a larger extent, reduced the effectiveness of the programme in the provision of adequate care, support and protection to the MVC in the implementing villages.
The program implementation process at all levels is constrained by poor coordination, lack of integration of the program to other development efforts, under-resourcing the programme, poor MVC data management and lack of follow-up and, lastly, lack of integration of the non-state actors in the implementation of the program (i.e. NGOs, FBOs, and NGOs).
Nevertheless, some success has been achieved in the provision of educational support to the MVC. The support provided covers exercise books, pens and pencils, uniforms and paying of school fees and pocket money for the MVC joining secondary education. However, this support covers only a small proportion of the MVC. Scaling up of the support is required to cover a wide range of care and support, and a wide coverage of age groups accessing the care and support provided. Implementation of the Programme in the District has covered almost 70% of the villages. The plan is to cover the remaining 30% percent of the villages by the end of November 2004.
Lastly, there is a need for a second round of community dialogue to sensitize again people in village communities and their leaders about the MVC program, and the need for their involvement and commitment to the Programme.
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Child Protection - OVC