serve the children
AVSI Kenya, as a local implementing partner, is working with World Vision Kenya in Nairobi County to strengthen health and human capacity in Kenya by increasing the use of county-led quality health and social services for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their families. The project is funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
AVSI will work with 21,335 orphans and vulnerable children, targeting a total of 10,682 households in the sub-counties of Nairobi (Langata, Kibra, Embakasi South and Embakasi East).
Kenya has made significant progress towards achieving sustainable health and social outcomes. Child mortality has declined by 61% between 1965 and 2015, and HIV prevalence has declined from 5.6% in 2012 to 4.7% in 2018. However, HIV/AIDS remains a significant burden on the country. It is estimated that Kenya has 1.4 million people living with the disease, with children accounting for 6.6%.
There are 40,667 new HIV infections and 19,362 HIV-related deaths annually. Young women are disproportionately affected, 3 times that of men. And of those affected, a total of 184,178 are youth (15 – 24 years old), of whom 105,200 are adolescents (10-19 years old), and 850,000 are HIV/AIDS-related orphans and vulnerable children under the age of 17.
In Nairobi County, adolescents represent 38.7% of the population and 45% of the annual new infections. Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), orphans, and vulnerable children are most at risk and in need of HIV prevention services. The root causes of Nairobi County’s barriers to adequate service provision are resistance to behavior change, inadequate staff, low continuity of treatment of trained and qualified staff, and low levels of investment in service delivery.
Additional barriers include:
• Stigma and discrimination against HIV-related OVC and their households
• Low capacity for guidance, counseling and other psychosocial support for youth
• Poor quality for OVC and youth care services
• Inadequate social protection
• Insufficient access to employment and vocational opportunities including for youth
World Vision Kenya and its partners, including AVSI Kenya, will center primarily on HIV-infected and at-risk OVC, AGYW, and their households, invest in targeted capacity building of services providers and make the implementation process collaborative and inclusive of direct beneficiaries, community-based organizations, youth groups, faith-based community organizations, and county structures as well as the private sector. The vision of the project is that all HIV affected children and their households will be Healthy, Stable, Safe, and Schooled.
HEALTHY- HIV/AIDS and Nutrition
Interventions will support the achievement of health outcomes, build health and nutrition knowledge and skills of caregivers, and facilitate access to essential health services, especially HIV testing, care, and treatment to enable vulnerable children, especially girls, to stay HIV free.
STABLE – Economic Strengthening and Livelihoods
Activities will reduce economic vulnerabilities and increase resiliency in adolescents and families affected by and vulnerable to HIV. These activities include training for financial literacy, village savings and loans associations (VSLAs), and start-up business kits.
SAFE – Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
Activities will prevent and mitigate violence, abuse, exploitation, and neglect of children and adolescents, including sexual and gender-based violence. Some of the activities include positive parenting classes with caregivers, staff training at the health facilities working on the project, and sensitization through targeted messaging for parents on child protection.
SCHOOLED – Education Interventions will overcome barriers to accessing education, including enrollment, attendance, retention, and progression and/or transition. For older children, linkages to internships and business opportunities are fostered. Vocational training and support for the return to school through education subsidies are provided.
Through project implementation, all activities incorporate two cross-cutting themes: gender and youth. The project has a gender-focused social behavior change strategy and communication plan that will guide gender transformative activities at the community, household, and individual level while promoting the uptake of health and social surfaces for both orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and adolescent girls and young women (AGYW).
Since the beginning of the project in April 2021, the following have been achieved:
• 799 children and adolescents living with HIV enrolled and supported
• 79% of children/adolescents living with HIV who were enrolled have achieved viral load suppression
• Staff members from 25 health facilities are sensitized on child protection and HIV linkages
• 286 caregivers were trained on financial literacy skills to enhance family financial capabilities
• 60 caregivers have been enrolled for emergency fund support for four months to help mitigate emergency need cases at the household level
• 845 caregivers reached with entrepreneurship skill and business mentorship support, reaching 2,247 OVC