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sustainable Comprehensive REsponses for Vulnerable Children and their Families (SCORE)


2011-2016 + 2 year extension until 2018

SCORE is a household-centered economic strengthening project in Uganda, targeting 20,000 households of vulnerable children. These households include approximately 150,000 children, youth and adults, many of whom are affected by HIV/AIDS. SCORE’s Household Development Plans are used to support each family down a path towards reduced vulnerability and increased stability, well-being and self-reliance.


The Sustainable COmprehensive REsponses (SCORE) for Vulnerable Children and their Families project is funded by USAID and implemented by AVSI Uganda with partners and works to support at-risk children by increasing the stability of households in 35 districts across five areas of Uganda (Central, East, East-Central, North and Southwest). SCORE’s goal is to reach 25,000 households and to graduate a majority of these households from the project before the conclusion.

Community based organizations, along with households themselves, will be active participants, relying on the support and guidance provided by SCORE Team members in their specific areas of technical expertise and geographic coverage. 

A coherent monitoring, evaluation and operational research plan integrates household level data into the program’s design. This leads to important contributions in the understanding of the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of the program approach.


SCORE aims to:

  • Improve the socioeconomic status of households by increasing financial resources, improving socioeconomic skills and facilitating market inclusion
  • Strengthen food security and nutrition by increasing household food production, improving food utilization and referring vulnerable households to agricultural, nutritional and health services
  • Increase access to and use of protection and legal services by increasing awareness of child protection concerns, improving referral mechanisms to relevant services and empowering families to use them
  • Enhance the capacity of households to access, acquire or provide critical services (such as health, education or legal) by raising awareness and ownership of critical services, reinforcing civil society support and care for vulnerable children and their households. This enhancement is also made possible through developing referral systems, often including partnerships with the private sector
  • Assess individual household  vulnerabilities and interests, and design customized household development plans
  • Build the capacity of local communities to respond to the needs of each family 


The SCORE program is based on reliable evidence generated from the previous project experience of AVSI and other organizations. This evidence directed us to the conclusion that the best way to serve highly vulnerable children is to look at the family surrounding each of them, understanding its capacity to meet the range of needs of its children in the present and the future and building on assets.

SCORE is premised on the awareness that a package of handouts is much less useful than an intervention structured to build assets, relationships and networks that can sustain a family on its own path towards a more stable and dignified future. AVSI has embarked on a great adventure to put these beliefs to the test.

Perhaps the best summary of the program comes from the words of a team member working in the field: a staff member of a local implementing partner commented, “What this project needs is time and love”.  

TIME, because SCORE does not offer a generic “quick fix” to patch over a few of the needs seen in the children and their households, but offers instead an invitation to begin walking along a longer road of growth. This happens through building ties to available services and to the community. This takes time.

LOVE, because the journey requires effort and patience, and these families deserve nothing less. Respect, persistence, dedication are expressions of the affection and love which AVSI staff bring to the project.


SCORE marries time-tested principles with innovation in the following key elements of its approach:

  • SCORE moves dramatically away from direct service delivery to a model of facilitation, capacity building, demand creation and strengthening of referral systems. The focus is on building resilience of individuals, families and communities.
  • A household approach is taken, beginning from a close-up understanding of the household’s individual vulnerabilities, assets and interests, and moving to the participatory design of household development plans.
  • The project implements activities through local organizations who are embedded in the communities. These organizations serve as a stable point of contact for households across all service areas, and therefore within a holistic framework of support.
  • SCORE embraces a family approach, taking stock of the uniqueness (in terms of needs and resources) of each beneficiary household. The household is supported as first line of prevention and response for the child’s vulnerability.
  • SCORE orients participating households towards GRADUATION from the project starting at the beginning. GRADUATION is celebrated by the project and all partners and has become a real goal – both ambitious and attainable – for families. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.


The SCORE project equips entire households with economic skills that enable them to plan and establish lasting livelihoods. Through financial skills training and engagement with peers in income generating ventures, families are able improve their socioeconomic situations rapidly.

At the closure of the project in April 2018, 34,779 vulnerable children’s households and at least 200, 000 individuals in 35 districts of Uganda were enrolled in SCORE. 

In total, with the SCORE Family Strengthening element, 9,970 individuals and 8,329 households participated in life skills programs while almost 2,000 children joined a community playgroup. Through the Socio-Economic Strengthening element of the project, the household average income jumped from US$ 12 to US$ 39, while unemployment rate was reduced from 15% to 1%.

Utilizing SCORE’s graduation model, more than 80% of households had demonstrated reduced levels of vulnerability. 89% of all households have graduated with 74% of graduated households resilient.

Four cohorts of beneficiary households, corresponding to 13,311 households, have gone through graduation ceremonies to celebrate these accomplishments.

The remaining 11% of households have been transitioned either to other existing USAID mechanisms or other USG funded programs or to the local government mechanisms.  The last 10%  were lost to follow-up because of a change of geographical area or loss of interest.


Illustrative Activities

– Market Skills Development training
– Apprenticeship programs for older youth.
– Savings groups.

– Farmer Field Schools in order to increase food production and post-harvest storage.
– Horticulture demonstrations and start-up support which can improve family diet and revenues.
– Nutrition screening for children and referral.
– Nutrition education for parents.


– Child protection service mapping carried out with communities.
– Training on effective child protection.
– Case by case legal aid services.



Between 2018-2025, AVSI will continue testing it's unique Graduation Approach in Uganda on another project. To improve food and nutrition security and self-reliance among extremely poor households in the Kamwenge refugee settlement and host communities, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Office of Food for Peace (FFP) awarded AVSI a $36,700,000 cooperative agreement to implement, in consortium with Trickle Up and IMPAQ International, the Graduating to Resilience project. AVSI Consortium will work with 13,200 households that are economically active but chronically unable to meet their basic needs without some assistance. Half of the households will be from the host district and the other half will be from the refugee community.



Programming for SCORE is led by the AVSI Foundation, in consortium with:

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