Vaccine Network for Disease Control has received support from the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) since October 2017 to implement community-based activities for Achieving Control of HIV/AIDS Epidemic through Evidence (ACHIEVE) Project. The ACHIEVE Project is funded by the US Government President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As part of the ACHIEVE Project, we focus on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in our program delivery. We focus mostly on Orphans and Vulnerable Children who are:
- Infected or Affected by HIV/AIDS.
- Exposed Adolescents
- Children of Female Sex Workers.
We have engaged eight communities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) through capacity building, community linkages, and service provision that cater to the health, educational, and economic needs of Orphans and Vulnerable Children. We have trained about 60 Community Volunteers to conduct assessments of households of OVC, coupled with services in areas such as nutrition, sanitation, education awareness, psychosocial support, and financial education. These households have been enrolled, served and monitored continuously. Alongside our Community Volunteers, we have sensitized the communities in the areas of HIV awareness and prevention, nutrition education, child protection, financial education, and psychosocial support. These have taken place in the communities among the Adolescent and Kids Clubs, HIV Support Groups, and Child Protection Committees that Vaccine Network helped establish. In addition to trainings, we have collaborated with IHVN to complete HIV testing in the communities.
At Vaccine Network, we realize that education is another factor that affects the wellbeing of OVC. Through block granting, we have been able to renovate school structures and enroll children in school. In one of the communities, we discovered that the Local Education Authority (LEA) Wuye Primary School has undergone environmental challenges due to not owning the facility in which they operate. This spurred us to link a private school with the LEA school whereby the private school set aside resources (funds, uniforms, shoes, educational games, bags, etc.) to improve the educational environment and at the same time, advocate to law makers and decision makers in the Education sector to give the school their permanent structure.
To contribute toward greater OVC care and support, we have run a Household Economic Strengthening (HES) program in the communities through weekly field visits. This has most notably taken the form of Savings Groups among caregivers of OVC where we have facilitated formation of the groups after series of financial education and provision of financial support for their businesses. Not only have we started these groups but we have monitored their progress regularly with assistance from the Community Volunteers.
- HIV awareness and prevention delivered to 80 female sex workers.
- HIV awareness and prevention delivered in 8 of our adopted communities.
- Establishment of HIV Support Groups in 4 communities that meet monthly.
- Nutrition education provided to over 100 caregivers.
- Enrollment of 200 OVCs in Local Education Authority (LEA) Primary Schools.
- Renovation of computer lab/skills acquisition center at LEA Iddo Primary School in Abuja.
- Renovation of a toilet facility at LEA Bassa Jiwa Primary School in Abuja.
- Provision of 40 desks and tables in LEA Primary School in Waru and Gosa respectively.
- Enrollment of about 200 caregivers in HES program.
- Formation of Savings Groups in 6 of our communities.
- Adolescent & Young Women’s Clubs established in all of our communities.
- Enrollment of 75 adolescents for internship and mentorship over 6-12 months period.
- We have linked Ruga community to the FCT Department of Public Health and Disease Control when an epidemic issue was suspected in the settlement.
- We linked one of our OVCs to Sight Savers (NGO) when he was diagnosed with Glaucoma. It was eventually reported too late to save his sight as the nerves connecting his eyes to the brain were damaged.
- We linked Glowing Ages Academy (private school) to LEA Wuye Primary School to provide mentorship and support to vulnerable children in the school.