YWCAAIDS :: OVC support (Urban & Rural based programme)

OVC support (Urban & Rural based programme)

The AIDS epidemic in Kenya is devastating families and communities.There is nothing more traumatic for a child than to see a parent die. Added to this tragedy is the loss of adult guidance and protection. Children without proper adult care are more likely to be abused and exploited. Losing a parent or caregiver often means losing access to social grants, education and healthcare.

OVC situation in Kenya

The population of OVC has steadily grown at an alarming rate in the recent past largely due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In 2004 the number of orphans in the country was estimated at 1.8 million. Since then the number has steadily grown to the current 2.4 million. Most of these children lack access to basic needs due to high levels of poverty. In view of 46% of Kenyans living below poverty line with children accounting for 19 %, the OVC are more prone to different forms of abuse and exploitation due to their vulnerable circumstances.

Knowing the impact of poverty on education,YWCAA also looks at economic empowerment of vulnerable households, often run by grandmothers, widows, including orphans and vulnerable children. The project also looks into addressing the socio-cultural effects on education of both the girl and boy child - where culture and tradition play toll on retention of boys and girls in school. A girl is still viewed as means of wealth to the community, particularly when she gets married. Education is therefore non prioritized as it is seen as a long process to prosperity (if any) by the vulnerable households. Early marriage is seen as a quick fix to such households. In addition, the trauma that children under go as a result of child labour is untold. The community still view children in form of labour force. The more children one has, the easier it gets to mobilize labour to undertake family chores. Children are therefore exposed to tough manual work at an early stage.They, for example help the households plough farms, fetch firewood and water - often drawn from seasonal streams situated far from their homes. This affects their natural growth, health, expose them to other forms of gender based violence, affects their self esteem and impede their psychological well being.

Priority Responce area for YWCAA

YWCAA recognizes the family as the natural unit for proper socialization and growth for every child. It aims at strengthening the capacity of families/households to care for OVC within the community as the key strategic focus in addressing the OVC situation. The extended family, already undermined by poverty, is increasingly unable to provide such numbers of children with even the basic requirements of shelter, food, education, medical care, love and support. YWCAA through a concerted collaborative intervention with partners has engaged in care and support to the OVCs.

YWCAA applies a holistic and intergreted approach to attaining basic education and literacy in partnership with the Mosulo,Riwowa and Alot Jariere in Homabay,Kisumu and Siaya Counties. The organization works with volunteers at the community level to provide community/school feeding, sensitization and support programs;and provide nutritional, emotional and other basic needs.The objective of the project is to mobilize neccessary resources and naturing life skills to enable the adolescence grow as responsible citizens, to inject a sence of social responsibility and sustainability. During such initiatives,YWCAA joins the community in mobilizing any little support you can imagine - ranging from food stuff,old books, toys, stationery, clothes, shoes among other basics which are given in form of support to the OVCs.The day is also dedicated to sensitize the OVCs, care givers and the community on effective care giving, GBV, dangers of alcohol and substance abuse and SRHR.