FAMILY RESILIENCE (FARE)
KAMPALA & WAKISO UGANDA
Through the FARE project, AVSI Uganda and partners including Retrak and COWA demonstrated the power of an integrated model that addresses the issue of family breakdown and unnecessary child-family separation by working with childcare institutions as well as with the communities and families. The goal was to reintegrate children back into appropriate and safe family care while also preventing additional separation.
FARE was implemented by AVSI Uganda in partnership with Retrak Uganda and supported by the USAID-funded ASPIRES project led by FHI360 in Kampala and Wakiso Districts in Uganda. The two districts were selected because they host large proportions of street children and other vulnerable children.
The goal of FARE was to prevent separation and re-separation of children from their families. The project targeted 650 households, including 350 families deemed to be at high risk of child–family separation (Prevention families) and 300 children already living outside of family care (Reintegration).
In Uganda, about 10,000 children live on the streets and another 57,000 or so are in institutional care, 60% of whom are not orphans. Factors that contribute to this are weak community support, abuse, economic deprivation, and the perception of greater quality of life in Child Care Institutions (CCI). CCIs and remand homes are beginning to prepare children for reintegration into family care in Uganda, but they are often not effective over the long-term. One enduring problem is the weak engagement with families and communities to address root causes of separation.
FARE embraced the entire family and community around vulnerable children in a holistic and flexible manner to meet the needs of individual cases. Fare drew on the innovative approach developed by AVSI Sustainable COmprehensive REsponses for Vulnerable Children and their Households (SCORE) project. Like SCORE, FARE sought to strengthen households economically and in terms of relationships, so that families would be more resilient, capable of reintegrating children back at home and preventing unnecessary separation.
Being in Uganda for over 30 years, AVSI proposed an alternative for the reintegration of children to their families. FARE gave temporary material support to families and children while working to help strengthen communities and to accompany both the families and children in the reintegration process. Through partners of AVSI, such as Retrak Uganda, Naguru Remand Home, and Fruits of Charity, FARE reached out to separated children living on the streets or in child care institutions FARE also worked with the children’s families to build resilience and social support networks. They received parenting and life skills training, psycho-social support, and referrals for additional services as needed. Economic strengthening was also made available including apprenticeships and vocational training for youth, savings groups and training for marketable skills. FARE considered all the needs of the families and provided follow-up support.
In order to achieve the project goal, FARE employed three main objectives:
1. Quality appropriate case management to support reintegrating children and families at high risk of separation to identify needs and access support and services;
2. Targeted families/households to have increased economic resources and capacities;
3. Children are nurtured and protected in targeted families and communities.
Theory of change
FARE project’s theory of change rested on the concept of different pathways through which families would move from vulnerability to greater family resilience, starting from an understanding of the specific drivers of child-family separation in each case. The theory of change considered that if families were provided a combination of economic and family strengthening interventions, the drivers of child family separation would be reduced; families would become more resilient to shocks and would be able to foster a healthy environment for children to remain in family care.
FARE achieved its full enrollment target for the Prevention (at-risk) families: 350 families were identified, assessed, and enrolled in Kampala and Wakiso. FARE reached 94% of the Reintegration target: 281 children were reunified and integrated into family care. Of the 281 children reunified with their families, only 268 children from 255 households decided to participate fully and continue in the community-level resilience activities. Overall, FARE worked with 605 families (350 prevention and 255 reintegration).
Below is a summary of program performance on selected indicators and other main intended project outcomes:
- 93% of reintegrated children remained in family care for a year against the project target of 95%
- 95% of children in Prevention families remained in family care throughout the life of the project against the project target of 100%.
- 124% loans to savings ratio recorded in VSLA groups against the project target of 150%
- 58% of the direct participants increased their household income by 30% against the project target of 50%
- 84% improvement in parent–child relations among Reintegration caregivers and 94% improvement among Prevention caregivers and children against the project targets of 60%
- 43% of the youth who were trained through apprenticeships were employed against the targeted 60%