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Evaluation report

2009 Zambia: Evaluation of the Community Based Orphan Support Programm3e & OVC Training: Chikankata Model



Author: Dr Gilbert Mudenda. Institution: Institute for Policy Studies, Lusaka, Zambia

Executive summary

 

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Background:

The Community Based Orphan Support Programme (CBOSP) project was started in 1995 by the Salvation Army Church in the Chikankata area of Mazabuka District. The goal of the CBOSP is to enhance the community response to the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) situation through a community based support system that builds on and utilises available community resources in the Chikankata Health Services catchment area. The Chikankata Health Services directs runs the CBOSP and services as estimated of population of between 80,000 to 90,000 people living in a rural setting within a radius of 70 kilometres.

In 2000 UNICEF entered into another agreement with Chikankata that included the training component for OVC managers after being satisfied with the progress of the CBOSP. The training targeted OVC care givers from different parts of the Country.

The ultimate beneficiaries of both the CBOSP and the OVC projects are the OVC below the age of 18, guardians, the general community and OVC committees. The OVC include children who have lost either a single parent or both and those children who are living in difficult circumstances because their parents are chronically-ill mostly due to HIV/AIDS, physically handicapped and mentally retarded and living in extreme poverty.

Purpose/Objective:

The objectives of the review and evaluation are to ascertain the following:
• Analyse the selection criteria for households benefiting from the programme;
• What has been the impact of the CBOSP on children? How have they benefited from the programme;
• Establish accurate data on the number of OVC managers trained by Chikankata under the OVC training since 2000;
• As far as possible interview some of those who have been trained as OVC managers and ascertain relevance of the training to their current work of caring for vulnerable children;
• Is there an exit strategy as an integral part of the CBOSP for beneficiaries as a way of graduating them and getting new beneficiaries on the programme;
• Establish if the programme has managed to mobilize the communities to embrace the care of OVC;
• Have the OVC committees been empowered in the 15 communities with knowledge and skills relevant in the care and support of OVC.
• Have the communities been empowered with an economic base to sustain the support process for OVC;
• Has the programme put in place mechanisms such as committees? If such mechanisms exist are they working in the 15 communities under CBOSP;
• Chikankata has trained a number of people on OVC care from different districts of Zambia. Is the CBOSP being replicated in other districts of Zambia;
• Does Chikankata have an on-going performance programme assessment as part of the CBOSP;
• Analyse the efficiency of the Chikankata Health Services who are the partner implementers of the CBOSP;
• Provide an analysis of how lessons around the strengths and achievements of Chikankata can be applied in more ‘normal’ circumstances i.e. where the institutional environment does not include a substantial and well resourced mission or similar, but may be characterised by a more ‘usual’ collection of actors including Government institutions, smaller churches, and CBOs; and
• Come up with recommendations on actions to be taken to address the situation of vulnerable children at community level.
Under the supervision of the Chief of Child Protection Section, the consultant will accomplish the following tasks:
• Develop a data collection tool (hard and soft);
• Prepare, submit and discuss the methodology that is going to be used for the evaluation with clear timelines to be approved by the UNICEF Chief of Child Protection;
• Collect relevant data through field visits to Chikankata through interviews with relevant authorities;
• Analyse the data using a reliable data analysis programme;
• Prepare a draft report and do a debriefing with UNICEF and other stakeholders for their comments; and
• Prepare and submit a final report to UNICEF which should incorporate comments from stakeholders with appropriate recommendations.

Methodology:

In order to carry out the various tasks highlighted in the Terms of Reference, the review employed a number of research methodologies and tools. These are: literature review; and fieldwork where in-depth (focus group) interviews were undertaken with the various stakeholders in the programme.
The literature review relied mainly on programme documents, previous evaluations as well as various reports from the communities. Primary sources of information were garnered from interviews with key informants in the programme area. These included programme staff, Committee Members in the operational communities, village headmen, and guardians of OVC, community members as well as the orphans and vulnerable children. As such, the fieldwork visits provided the review an opportunity to interact and get the opinions of the intended project beneficiaries. The review instrument used comprised sets of key questions which guided the conversations with the different stakeholders in the programme. A summary the key questions and answers is provided in Appendix 3.

Findings and Conclusions:

The Chikankata CBOSP has pioneered and promoted a community-based response to OVC care and support. Its impact on OVC care has had the tremendous, not only in the Chikankata catchment area but also throughout the region and beyond. The impact of the programme includes: increase community awareness of HIV/AIDS, increased reliance on community efforts and resources, increased knowledge and skills and the economic empowerment of community members.

Recommendations:

1. CBOSP should continue in its efforts of strengthening its institutional base and framework and abide by its philosophy, principles and values systems. The transformation of the current AMTS into the HIV/AIDS Team Response Department may prove to be one of the ways forward achieving that objective.

2. CBOSP staff should not rest on their laurels or those of their predecessors. Instead they should continue to refine the approach as they gain more experience from their daily application of the approach. More importantly, effort and resources should be spent in documenting the community based approach to OVC care.

3. The campaign for community based care should be sustained as there are those whose actions subvert such efforts not because they do not understand or believe in the efficacy of the community based approach to OVC care but because it is expedient for them to do so.

4. CBOSP staff should continue in their fight against such tendencies. First by resisting such offers and secondly by engaging community members in a creative dialogue on sustainable development and lastly by convincing donors that there are better ways of empowering communities which result in more sustainable ways of OVC care and support.

5. Linkages between the between the CBOSP Head Office and the communities be further strengthened. As the programme expands, it might be a good idea to establish sub-area Board Meetings comprising say four communities.

6. CBOSP should champion the adoption of the community approach in the various developmental initiatives being undertaken by partner organisations. In addition, CBOSP should seek the cooperation and inputs from specialised agencies that may add value to the developmental efforts communities, such inputs from Livestock Development Trust for improved management small livestock and poultry as well as organisations like the Conservation Agriculture Programme in order to enhance food securing among community members.

7. The performance of committee members should be regularly assessed using community (village) structures and to replace those whose performance is below par and rewarding those that are active. Further, newly elected committee members should be given training to bring them to the level of their colleagues who had earlier received training.

8. Since selection criteria for beneficiaries are not the same in all communities; it is important that committee members make the selection criteria known to all community members as a means of protecting the integrity of those who choose some beneficiaries over others.

9. The pass-on schemes for goats and chickens should be increased in volume and be supplemented by training in animal husbandry. In addition, the husbandry of tubers and legumes as well as the introduction and popularisation of conservation farming should be introduced in all the programme’s operational areas.

10. Programme staff should spend more effort and time in the training of community trainers. Programme staff should reinforce the capacities of community trainers through supervisory visits similar to the supervisory visits being done for committee members.

11. More resources should be made available for the training of OVC care managers. The resources required should include: the production of training manual (including DVDs and/or be put on the web); provision for supervisory visits; and scholarships for OVC managers who may wish to attend a taught programme at the Chikankata Seminar Centre.

12. Minutes of the monthly and quarterly meetings should be recorded electronically and used as part of the programme evaluation and review process. In future, when the number of communities has increased, the current composition of the Board may need to be reconsidered in order to increase the participation of the representatives of communities.

13. The end of the programme evaluation should be done some months before the programme has come to an end. This is because the evaluation provides critical inputs to the successor programme. Secondly, an early end-of-programme evaluation might ensure the continuity of a programme by minimising the occurrence of huge hiatuses between programmes.

14. The programme should consider further training for the community training teams to enable them undertake such supervisory visits for a small fee. In addition, the quarterly reports coming from communities should be computerised in order to facilitate easy retrieval and analysis.

15. A pilot five year Chikankata model replication programme should be undertaken as means of popularising community based orphan care approach in the country.



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