The Bantwana Initiative of World Education Holds Close-Out Event for Vana Bantwana Program in Zimbabwe
December 3, 2018
Harare, Zimbabwe - On November 29th, 2018, the Bantwana Initiative of World Education, Inc. hosted a close-out event in Harare to celebrate the accomplishments of the 6-year Vana Bantwana program that supported orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe. With funding from USAID/PEPFAR, the program successfully reached more than 600,000 orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers through an integrated approach of strengthening systems that support children at the community, district, and national levels.
Bantwana welcomed representatives from USAID, the Government of Zimbabwe, partner organizations, community volunteer cadres, and children and families who participated in the project. Bantwana Zimbabwe Country Director Patience Ndlovu and Child Advisory Board Member Chelsey gave joint opening remarks. Ms. Ndlovu stated: “Our task was to implement a complex program which had to consider the different vulnerabilities of children and be adaptable to an evolving environment. Every child needs the basics to thrive: health, education, and protection. Therefore, our program was integrated, comprehensive, and coordinated across multiple sectors to mitigate the impact of HIV on the lives of vulnerable children and their families.”
Chelsey, a secondary school student who provided valuable input to enhance program design through her participation in the national Child Advisory Board, shared the impact of Vana Bantwana on her life: “In front of you now, I’m motivated and I’m a public speaker because of this project. I know my rights and I’m very proud of this. I care about other people and how they live. The Child Advisory Board meets to discuss how we can help with issues in our society, including peer pressure, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and the sort of stuff that prohibits children from reaching their goals.”
USAID Zimbabwe Acting Mission Director Michael McCord, lauded the project’s overall success: “Vana Bantwana has advanced Zimbabwe’s journey to self-reliance by giving the most vulnerable members of society—children impacted by the HIV epidemic—the tools they need to unlock their potential and live healthy, productive lives.”
Launched in January 2013, the program was designed to support the Government of Zimbabwe’s efforts to improve the lives of OVC and those affected by HIV and AIDS. Implemented in all 65 districts, Vana Bantwana had an extensive impact across Zimbabwe. Through innovative programming in the areas of health, education, child protection, economic strengthening, gender-based violence, and youth and livelihoods. the program brought together multiple government and nongovernmental partners. In total, more than 500,000 children received critical health services, including 11,000 children who were initiated on HIV care and treatment. The program provided educational scholarships for over 50,000 children, including 2,300 children with disabilities. More than 30,000 families participated in income saving and lending (ISAL) group trainings to improve their economic resilience. The program also empowered 300,000 children to identify and prevent gender-based violence and provided gender-based violence response services, including medical, legal, and psychosocial support.
Working in Zimbabwe for over 10 years, first through the Children First project (2008-2012) and then through the Vana Bantwana project (2013-2018), the Bantwana Initiative has been collaborating closely with the Government of Zimbabwe to develop a national case management system and strengthen bi-directional linkages and referrals to pediatric HIV testing and treatment and gender-based violence prevention and response programming. To ensure that communities continue effective interventions beyond the life of the program, Vana Bantwana built the capacity of more than 30 local NGOs and CBOs to implement and manage the various models of care.
The Bantwana Initiative of World Education works to improve the well-being of vulnerable children and families affected by HIV and AIDS and poverty across Sub-Saharan Africa. Rooted in the community-based approaches of World Education, Bantwana builds the capacity of communities, civil society, and governments to coordinate and deliver integrated, comprehensive services to vulnerable households, while strengthening structures and service delivery systems across the HIV continuum of care.