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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2014 Eswatini: Evaluation of Lihlombe Lekukhalela

Author: Professor Keregero

Executive summary


Lihlombe Lekukhalela (LL) is a community-driven child protection initiative, introduced around the year 2000, by the Government of Swaziland (Ministry of Regional Development  and Youth Affairs) , UNICEF, NGOs and civil society in response to daily newspaper reports about the worsening situation of child abuse in the country, especially sexual and emotional abuse (UNICEF, 2005). Lihlombe Lekukhalela, a SiSwati term which means “a shoulder to cry on”, was coined by the youth during engagements at community level to break ground on the introduction of the child protectors’ initiative. The Lihlombe Lekukhalela community-based child protection initiative utilizes child protection committees to prevent violence, abuse and exploitation of children and to provide care and support to abuse survivors. The initiative was scaled-up substantially in the last five years, with approximately 10,000 LLs currently working in all four regions of Swaziland.


The following were the objectives of the study.
1. Protect children from all forms of abuse as defined by Article 19 of the United Nations convention on the rights of the Child (UNCRC).
2. Educate and sensitize communities to fulfil the rights of children, especially the orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC).
3. Provide an easily accessible avenue at the community level for children to report cases of abuse which directly or indirectly affect them.
4. Reduce the rate of child abuse, exploitation including secondary victimization of children by providing a shoulder-to-cry-on within communities and schools.


The 2011 study combined two major types of methods: qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods. Qualitative techniques included interviews with key informants to understand how and why people react, what their motivations and aspirations are.  Quantitative techniques collect numerical data: how many children were reached by the Lihlombe Lekukhalela community-based child protection services, where they live, what types of violence or abuse they were subjected to, etc. In general, the study looked at what had been achieved by the Lihlombe Lekukhalela community-based child protection initiative so far.
The respondents to study were persons who had any knowledge about the Lihlombe Lekukhalela community-based child protection initiative (about 20 key informants or KIs), all individuals responsible for providing service and support to Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers and vulnerable children in communities (service providers: teachers, police officers, health staff, social welfare personnel, staff of faith-based organisations (FBOs) and Inner Council (Bandlancane) members) and all Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers operating in rural and urban settings consisting of towns, wards, communities, tinkhundla and chiefdoms.

For purposes of this evaluation, the sample size of 400 Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers was selected and distributed equally among the selected eight chiefdoms (rural areas) and two wards (urban areas). Given that women constituted the majority of Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers operating in communities, it was decided that, as far as possible, the sample size in each area should include 5% male and 95% female respondents. Table 1 shows the sample size and distribution in the selected research locations. Within each chiefdom or ward, the Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers were identified in a snowballing manner until the requisite number was attained.

Findings and Conclusions:

The following are the highlights of the findings in the report.

  • Most Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers have been working more than 4 years, which indicated they have the necessary experience to identify the role of Lihlombe
  • Lekukhalela volunteers in the protection of vulnerable children.
  • Most Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers supervised more than 10 households. Even though the implementing partners might assume that each Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteer supervises an estimated maximum of five households, the majority of Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers actually supervised more. This means they have a higher workload, they need to travel far to see the children and this has an impact on their performance. 
  • Approximately 75% of these volunteers and community members feel that vulnerable children in communities are easily reachable by child protection services.
  • Most of them said they could reach all the vulnerable children under their care.
  • In general, these volunteers noted that it was easy to identify vulnerable children, that Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers were motivated to help these children and that community members could also depend on umphakatsi for assistance.
  • In general, the Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers noted that some children could not report abuse because they feel ashamed and embarrassed, they are intimidated, threatened and victimized.
  • Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers were able to get enough staff members and supervisors to help the children. In addition, Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers were able to get the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to assist children; they link with other support organisations too. They still need to do more to get enough funding and facilities to help vulnerable children. 
  • In general, community members feel that Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers are good for the community. They  provide a safe and peaceful environment for children in the community and they help people change their abusive and violent behavior.


Several recommendations were brought forward and are highlighted below.

1. Additional financial resources should be provided for Lihlombe Lekukhalela volunteers, for communities and for children in order to ensure adequate child protection services within the communities.
2. Some of these funds should come from the communities themselves. Therefore, communities need to be trained on budgeting and planning.
3. Even though many communities understand the values of the volunteer-based child protection services, some members remain reluctant to accept the volunteers within the community. Further awareness building campaigns need to be set up.
4. Follow-up research in different areas would be valuable. This could include looking at how state.

Full report in PDF

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