Lesotho Case Study - Nthabiseng ADP

 

Case Study 2 – World Vision Lesotho: Nthabiseng ADP – Comprehensive, community-centred approach to child protection

3.6.1.      Introduction

Former Education Programme Manager

March 8th, 2013

 

Case Study 2 – World Vision Lesotho: Nthabiseng ADP – Comprehensive, community-centred approach to child protection

3.6.1.      Introduction

World Vision International (WVI), the global development and relief NGO, was first established in 1950. Its original mandate was to provide for the needs of the world’s OVC. Currently, WVI operates from its global headquarters in Monrovia, California. The organisation’s global focus had grown to encompass child-well-being within the capacities of families to build sustainable futures. It has also grown to include advocacy to promote international development, transparency and sustainability. WVI has 48 county offices employing approximately 22,500 people. WVI’s total annual income is estimated at US$1.9 billion.

WVI’s global partnership is guided by six objectives: addressing children’s well-being; community resilience; child participation; caring relationships; changed values and lifestyles; and, justice systems and structures.

World Vision Lesotho (WVL) opened in 1987 as the country office for WVI. WVI’s work in Lesotho dates to 1975 when the first interventions were made through the WVI office in RSA. WVL is one of the largest and long-standing international NGOs working in Lesotho. WVL’s main sources of funds for this programme are child sponsorship (see below), World Vision Australia, the EU and UNICEF. This case explores one of its interventions, the Nthabiseng Area Development Programme (ADP).

The downloadable report below contains additional information on this case study in terms of a number of important graphs and charts.

3.6.2.      Nthabiseng ADP

Among its overall programme, WVL manages three ADPs. The Nthabiseng ADP, profiled in this report, is located in the northern Butha-Buthe district and was established in 1999. It covers three constituencies: Hololo, Qalo and Butha-Buthe. There are twenty-six villages under the Principal Chief of Butha-Buthe, Chief Retselisitsoe Mopeli. The traditional authority of chieftainship is highly respected in the villages. However, there are also local community council authorities, whose main function is to spearhead development initiatives. The villages have been grouped together into five community council constituencies for ease of administration.

Activities within the Nthabiseng ADP are funded through World Vision Australia, which does not believe in focusing interventions on particular children but rather on entire families and the community at-large. More specifically, World Vision Australia advocates capacity-building of communities as a more sustainable intervention. Therefore, even gifts-in-kind (non-financial) donations are pooled to contribute to the community.  Consequently, in Nthabiseng ADP, far fewer children receive direct assistance from World Vision than in ADPs that are supported by World Vision USA.

The target population of the programme when assessed in 2006 was 6,333 households comprised of approximately 38,000 adults and children (9,485 boys, 10,275 girls, 8,755 men, and 9,485 women). The average household size was 6. Males headed the majority of households (56.7 percent), while most of the beneficiaries were between 5 and 18 years old (37.7 percent) or 19 and 49 years (36.2 percent). 16.1 percent of the people were over 50 but the largest number of household-heads was from this age group (WVL 2006).

Most of the programme area is in the foothills – a topographical region between the northern lowlands bordering the Caledon River and the southern mountainous part of the district. Major crops include maize, sorghum, potatoes, vegetables, fruits and legumes (beans, peas and lentils). The villages are joined together by gravel or dirt roads. Very few villages have electricity or telephone lines. The poverty rate is high. In 2006, 43 percent of households were categorized as poor, 18 percent as very poor.

At the time of the assessment in 2006, almost 80 percent of children of school-going age were enrolled in school (79.2 percent of eligible boys and 76.5 percent of eligible girls). 945 children were attending kindergarten or pre-school, 3,350 were attending primary school and 1,750 were attending secondary school.

Like the rest of the county, food insecurity was the major challenge interlinked with high HIV prevalence rates, particularly within the 30-to-40-year age group (40 percent or more of men and women in this group are HIV-positive). This had led to decreased productive capacity of affected households while the burden of care and support on able-bodied household members had increased. To cope with the increased burden, households were often forced to sell productive assets (cattle, sheep, or chickens, for example). As a result, the households became even more vulnerable to financial problems and food security shocks.

3.6.3.      Programme framework

WVL’s ADP interventions have seven main characteristics – namely they are child-focussed; community-based; empowering (capacitating communities to carry out their own development process); long-term (from 10 to 15 years); multi-sectoral; funded by multiple sources; and, sustainable (communities are able to sustain improved livelihoods).

In relation to Nthabiseng ADP, the programme goal is to reduce poverty levels among 38,000 beneficiaries by 2013 through a development process that is transformational, sustainable and empowering. There are four key outcomes:

  • Improved food and livelihood security for 300 families in Nthabiseng ADP;
  • Boys and girls are able to access and use knowledge, information, skills and services around HIV prevention;
  • Improved access to quality water and sanitation facilities for 20 percent of households; and,
  • Improved participation of children and their families in sponsorship issues within the programme area.

3.6.4.      Programme management structure

WVL has developed both a national and local level structure for its ADP interventions. For the day-to-day programme management of the Nthabiseng ADP, WVL employs 17 staff. When any ADP intervention starts, a local leadership structure is developed by selecting representatives from the participating villages who form the ADP Executive Committee, which manages and controls the operations of the ADP through a Working Committee made up of ten members of the Executive Committee. WVL also mobilises a number of different community structures to participate in the ADP projects. These include Community Care Coalitions (CCCs), Church HIV and AIDS Task teams (CHATs), District Paralegal Teams (DPTs), Village Disaster Management Teams (VDMTs), Nutrition and Livelihood Groups, and Disaster Risk Reduction clubs, amongst others.

3.6.5.      Project components

There are four inter-related projects that make up the Nthabiseng ADP.

a)      Food security

This component aims to improve food security across the ADP through the achievement of three main outcomes: increased crop and vegetable production; increased sustainable livelihood income; and, improved community resilience towards external shocks. The activities included training of households on homestead gardening; training of farmers on market outlets and provision of fertilizer to be sold in local markets; and, facilitation of the development of community-level disaster management plans.

b)      HIV and AIDS

This component aims to raise awareness around HIV and AIDS across the ADP and to capacitate children and youth with HIV risk-reduction and avoidance skills. The outcomes for this component included an increased number of boys and girls in and out of school who were able to understand HIV prevention and risk reduction strategies through the provision of life skills; parents and teachers with increased capacity to discuss issues of HIV prevention with boys and girls; and, community structures with increased capacity to care for and support HIV infected and affected people.

The activities under the HIV and AIDS component included:

  • Strengthening the organisational capacity of local structures, such as CCCs, CHATs and PLWHA support groups, through the provision of income generation tools. Proceeds were then used to support OVC for school fees and other necessities;
  • Developing HIV prevention skills among youth through the Hope Initiative;
  • Undertaking public education by the DPTs on advocacy, children’s rights and protection;
  • Building local partnerships between the police, district-level government ministry staff, and NGOs to address social problems such as crime, alcohol abuse, anti-social behaviour. This resulted in the training of local partners to address HIV and AIDS, range management, alcohol and drug abuse, leadership, dispute resolution and conflict management;
  • Increasing the involvement of parents and teachers in children’s education and life skills development; and,
  • Strengthening the capacity of local community-based groups and CCCs to provide care and support for OVC (health, education, food and shelter).

There were also efforts to improve data collection and monitoring skills. A district children’s committee was formed and its members trained. Finally, there was facilitation of the spiritual development of children through partnerships with local churches.

          c)      Water and sanitation

This component had two outcomes which were to improve knowledge and the proper use of safe water and good sanitation practices; and, raise awareness about the prevention of waterborne diseases. The activities included supporting the creation of water and sanitation committees at community level; training local leaders and community members about the prevention of waterborne diseases; creating water retention schemes; highlighting the importance of good hygiene; and, developing better waste disposal management practices.

d)      Child sponsorship

Child sponsorship is one of the principal means used by WVI and WVL to raise funds to support their ADP interventions. Under this project component there were two main outcomes: increased number of children, parents and communities that were educated about sponsorship; and, increased number of children that participated in and benefited from the sponsorship process. The activities included training of community volunteers to monitor registered children; training and awareness on WVL’s vision, mission and sponsorship standards; conducting a child census to verify which registered children were still in the ADP and still eligible for sponsorship; and, performing child monitoring visits.

3.6.6.      OVC care, support and education components

Through the integrated implementation of the ADP projects, OVC received a number of direct and indirect benefits with respect to care and support, and access to education, including:

  • Provision of school bursaries and support for other education related needs through the MOET school bursary programme. WVL facilitated the selection of eligible children at the community level. The list was subsequently put before the District Bursary Officer as the communities’ recommendations for which children should receive bursaries (bursaries are usually awarded individually based on a review of applications by the bursary officer only);
  • Provision of bursaries and support for other education related needs through proceeds from income generation projects;
  • Practical support to vulnerable children and households (food, clothing, agricultural inputs);
  • Monitoring of vulnerable children and households through child sponsorship and through CCCs, CHATs and other community-level structures;
  • Strengthening education and awareness among teachers, parents, caregivers and learners themselves on child protection and the rights and entitlements of children;
  • Facilitation of child participation in local-level governance and decision-making structures; and,
  • Facilitation of local collaboration within communities for child protection and support.

3.6.7.      Programme budget

The five-year budget for the ADP is shown in table 2.

Table 2: ADP Budget 2009-2013

 

Component

Budget (USD)

 percent

Food Security

647,656.00

21 percent

HIV and AIDS

537,722.00

17 percent

Water and Sanitation

313,131.00

10 percent

Child Sponsorship & Programme Management

1,577,355.00

51 percent

TOTAL

3,075,864.00

100 percent

Within the budget for each project, there are other direct costs including the WVL staff working specifically on the project, local implementation expenses and an allocation for national office activities. The Child Sponsorship and Programme Management budget, covering 51 percent of the total budget for the ADP, includes the full administrative costs for the child sponsorship process, as well as staff salaries, and costs for the routine monitoring of children.

3.6.8.      Results

This section reports on results up to the end of March 2011, the latest period for which data was available for all components of the Nthabiseng ADP. As stipulated in WVI’s Design, Monitoring and Evaluation (DME) guidelines, indicators are comprised of both quantitative and qualitative measures (WVI 2007). The M&E framework tracks specific output and outcome indicators contained within the programme documents. It also tracks transformational development indicators as well child well-being outcomes. Finally, this section includes relevant findings from key informant interviews and focus group discussions carried out with WVL staff and adults and children participating in the Nthabiseng ADP.

a)      Outputs

The outputs of the programme, since it began in 2009, are shown in Table 3.

Table3: Selected Output and Outcome Indicators and Results

 

 

Indicators

Base-line

Target

6 month Target

6 month Actual

FY11 target

FY11 Actual

 

Objective 1: Improved food and livelihood security in Nthabiseng ADP by 2013

 

Number of households who have access to food throughout the year

 

300

300

357

300

 

 

Number of community members with increased crop and vegetable production diversity

 

300

300

357

300

 

 

Number of farmers trained on improved farming practices

 

50

0

NA

50

 

 

Number of households with increased income

 

200

100

89

200

 

 

Number of households with increased cash crops

 

200

100

89

200

 

 

Number of farmers and schools assisted

 

20 farmers and 2 schools

20 farmers and 2 schools

NA

20 farmers and 2 schools

 

 

Number of community members with increased knowledge and skills in environmental conservation

 

400

200

667

400

 

 

Objective 2: To contribute to the reduction in the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS for 3500 households within Nthabiseng area by 2013

 

1000 boys and girls in- and out-of-school understand HIV prevention measures and risk reduction strategies through effective life skills

 

1,000

500

1,500

1,000

 

 

Increased capacity of parents and teachers to discuss issues of HIV prevention with boys and girls

 

1,000

500

NA

1,000

 

 

Improved care and support for 1000 OVC and HIV affected families

 

3,000

500

NA

1,000

 

 

Increased capacity of community members to advocate for the rights and protection of vulnerable groups

 

1,000

500

NA

500

 

 

Increased capacity of community structures to care for and support mothers and children under 5

 

100

50

NA

100

 

 

Increased quality of technical and managerial support to all HIV and AIDS related activities

           

 

Objective 3: Improved access to quality water and sanitation facilities for 20 percent of households of Nthabiseng ADP by 2013

 

Number of households with reduced incidents of water-borne disease

 

350

175

317

350

 

 

Number of households with adequate household hygiene facilities(refuse pits, VIP latrines)

 

350

175

98 percent

350

 

 

Proportion of households with access to safe water all year round

 

360

180

 

360

 

 

Number of households with improved water facilities

 

1,000

500

0 percent

1,000

 

 

Number of water facilities maintained

 

5

 

1

   
             

The most significant reasons for either over- or under-achievement of targets were:

  • More participants or wider programme reach than originally planned (HIV/AIDS, food security);
  • Local government counterparts not available or not yet trained to contribute their support for project activities (water and sanitation);
  • Local NGO counterparts lacked adequate capacity to undertake activities (HIV/AIDS); and,
  • Inconsistent levels of coordination between WVL-supported activities and those of other donors operating in the area.

b)      Budget utilisation

Programme expenditure for the project year 2010/11 is shown in Table 3. The elapsed implementation time was 6 months or 50 percent of the total one-year duration.

Table 3: Budget Absorption 2010/11

 

Component

Budget (USD)

Actual (USD)

Variance (USD)

 percent

Food Security

149,687.00

77,637

72,050.00

48 percent

HIV and AIDS

131,997.00

48,385

83,612.00

63 percent

Water and Sanitation

65,411.00

12,366

53,045.00

81 percent

Child Sponsorship & Programme Management

289,980.00

157,015

132,965.00

46 percent

TOTAL

637,075

295,403

341,672.00

54 percent

It was stated in many of the explanations that under-utilisation of resources was primarily due to the non-implementation of training activities, which was itself caused by a heavy schedule of internal trainings and workshops for the ADP staff.

3.6.9.      Views of parents

According to mothers of child beneficiaries who participated in a focus group discussion, WVL’s programme boosted their ability to meet the basic needs of their children. They defined the main challenges in their community to be poverty and unemployment, and the negative effects on their children. WVL assisted them to address these challenges through the provision of food assistance and uniforms, payment of school fees, and provision of shoes, books, and toiletries. More generally, WVL provided some houses with toilets, assistance to build green houses, provision of other agricultural inputs, training for children in life skills and basic literacy, and training for children on improved hygiene.

However, as for overall impact, one participant stated:

The impact has not been significant as children do not receive much direct assistance [at the moment]. However, one positive impact has been the training of children as peer educators in life skills, child protection laws and first aid.

Other participants were seriously concerned about the planned phasing-out of WVL support to their community. There was no indication that they felt that they could replace this support from locally-available resources.

3.6.10.  Views of teachers

In contrast to parents, teachers in the community were much more aware of the challenges for children in the school, home and community environments. They were also more able to identify significant positive outcomes of WVL’s support through the ADP. Teachers tended to describe the main challenges for children to be related to parenting and household environment:

Some children become vulnerable once their parents die because there is no one left to take care of their needs and people are usually hesitant to volunteer to help.

Vulnerable children are sometimes not well taken care of at home. Some parents have given in to poverty and do not use their hands to make a living for their families. This makes living conditions very hard for the children.

Teachers were also able to identify vulnerable children, orphaned or not, in their classes through physical and behavioural clues:

Vulnerable children refer to children whose parents are negligent and also orphans who have other family members still alive but who do not take care of them. At our school we have mechanisms of identifying those two types. We visit these families in the community and that is where we will identify whether the children who live in those families are vulnerable or not.

We are able to identify these children in class. Vulnerable children are often affected emotionally and are usually thin and have a frail physical appearance.

Such children usually require both financial and practical assistance to attend and to stay in school. Teachers are aware that children with no one to care for them outside of the school tend to drop out.

There was strong consensus that WVL had assisted children in meaningful ways. This included assistance with food baskets for children, school fees, uniforms, school supplies, and shoes. WVL representatives visited sponsored children at least once a year and brought them Christmas cards from their sponsors. In addition, WVL facilitated competitions and events amongst schools and children, often with cash prizes. Schools then used the prize money for provision of additional practical support to children.

The teachers also noted the support of WVL to bring community members together to identify and to monitor vulnerable children. WVL had hosted workshops with teachers to get their insights into the extent of vulnerability of children in the community. WVL had also supported selected teachers to monitor vulnerable children to keep the WVL staff up-to-date on their findings. Finally, WVL had assisted with referrals for children in need of additional counselling and support beyond what could be provided in the school.

In addition to WVL support, teachers themselves provided for OVCs through their own means. Some advised parents or caregivers on how to obtain bursaries and other assistance for children. Teachers donated clothes from their households and some even paid school fees.

When asked to indicate the impact on children of WVL activities, all teachers were clear that the results were positive and affected children in profound ways.

The children started looking happier and were more lively after getting assistance; they start behaving like normal children and their school work also improves.

The children start to have a positive outlook on life; they show a lot of respect towards their teachers; they are no longer self-conscious at school because they have proper school uniforms and shoes.

When the children notice that they are loved and being cared for, their behaviour changes; they become well-behaved and grateful.

Not all children exhibit positive change. Some children still have a hard time at school and some of them end up dropping out.

When asked about improvements to suggest to WVL, the teachers mentioned timeliness in the provision of benefits and supports. They also mentioned the need for more transparency and accountability in some of the community-level structures that receive resources from WVL that they then pass on to community members. However, overall, teachers were very aware of the positive meaning and the extent of support from WVL. This not only included the practical support for OVC mentioned previously, but also drug rehabilitation, provision of a water tank to a school, provision of sporting equipment, and organisation of sporting competitions.

3.6.11.  Views of children

For the children that are assisted by WVL, the impact that the organisation has on their lives is clear. According to the focus group participants, most children heard about WVL in their communities. Children look to WVL to provide many of their basic necessities. This includes adequate food, clothing, school uniforms and shoes, school fees and, to a lesser extent, counselling and support. At the time that WVL began to assist the children, they were living in impoverished households with no money and not enough food: “We went to school hungry.”

The support children received from WVL included blankets, clothes, food, shoes, toiletries, school uniforms, and books. WVL also assisted some of their families with the ploughing of the fields and seeds for planting. Some children’s families also received assistance from Social Welfare, including a monthly ‘paupers’ allowance of LSL100. As for the overall benefit in their lives, children said that they were no longer hungry at school and were able to concentrate and to play with other children.

3.6.12.  Profiles of WVL child beneficiaries

WVL, in its projects in the community within the Nthabiseng ADP, places a strong emphasis on community capacity development so that the community can play a stronger role in assisting OVC. The result of this type of intervention is that it is sometimes difficult to determine the direct impact of interventions on the individual lives of children. For this study, two children were profiled in order to clarify the effect of WVLs work on their lives. The personal details in these profiles have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants.

Thabo’s experience

Thabo is a 17-year-old boy who comes from a destitute household. Prior to receiving assistance from WVL, he suffered from hunger to such a degree that he had health problems and he performed poorly at school. He used to ask himself, ‘Will I manage to go to school since my mother is struggling to pay my school fees?’ Fortunately, he was identified by WVL volunteers in the community and was assisted with food, a uniform, and school supplies. “Now things are better than before...I can concentrate at school because I no longer think about my mother struggling to pay school fees for me.” 

Tsepo’s experience

Tsepo is a 23-year-old young adult. As a consequence of having a mentally ill mother, and due to poverty in his household, he was unable to attend school until he was a teenager. In 1999, a neighbour helped him to enrol in primary school when free primary education was introduced. Although he was enrolled in school, he still struggled with having enough to eat, and with purchasing a school uniform and his school books. It was towards the end of his primary school period that he first heard about WVL through a gathering of community children called by the local chief. The gathering was called to inform children about an initiative to set up a Child Committee and children were requested to elect two representatives. Tsepo was elected by his peers to be a representative. His involvement on the committee drew the attention of a member of the ADP Executive Committee who referred his case to WVL. Tsepo was then able to obtain assistance with all his school needs. He completed his primary school education with a 1st class pass and proceeded on to high school which he completed last year with continuing support from WVL.

Participation on the Child Committee had a huge influence on Tsepo’s life. As a representative he was trained in public speaking, child rights and responsibilities, advocacy and life skills. It was his responsibility as a peer educator to train the children in the community. Describing the impact of WVL on his life he says: “World Vision equipped me with essentials skills and self-esteem.” Among the opportunities Tsepo has had through WVL support was an opportunity in 2006 to attend a workshop at the Child Resource Centre in Cape Town. It was his first experience of travelling outside Lesotho. The workshop was conducted in English and he felt insecure about his fluency in English. He returned with a “bleeding wound” because he was not able to express himself and he vowed to learn to speak English fluently. So he read everything and took all opportunities to speak English. Tsepo has now completed high school and aspires to be a journalist. WVL recently funded him to attend a week-long youth journalism training workshop hosted by the Lesotho Child Counselling Unit. The aim of the workshop was to train youth to publish a children’s newspaper.

3.6.13.  Views of community partners

To represent the views of community partners, a priest and a teacher, both with defined roles within the ADP, were interviewed. Both individuals worked to coordinate the relationship between WVL interventions and the community. The teacher, for example, maintained the list of registered children, while the priest worked to identify vulnerable children, including children with disabilities, for WVL assistance and to provide spiritual counselling to improve the children’s psycho-social health.

According to these individuals, the WVL intervention had enhanced community level capacities, including leadership, advocacy, proposal writing, and organisational management, particularly financial management. Community members had also been sensitised on the rights of children and how to identify instances of physical or sexual abuse of children. Both individuals played their roles within the community on a voluntary basis.

Prior to their involvement with WVL, both individuals noted that there were problems with the abuse of children and the denial of their rights. These included theft of property, neglect, and physical and sexual abuse. One individual noted that Habitat for Humanity would come to build houses for destitute children and that after completion, children would be forced out of the houses by their relatives. Children would also be very inconsistent in their attendance at school because of lack of food and school uniforms, and an inability to cover other school costs.

In their view, WVL also provided a complete range of support to assist the community to care for its children and to improve their overall well-being. This assistance included development of the CCCs, provision of seeds and fertilizer, training on keyhole gardens, provision of toilets and training on sanitation systems, provision of foot-bridges, provision of housing, and improvement of the communities’ ability to provide care and support to OVC. WVL had also created a monitoring system for documenting the progress of improving the health and well-being of the communities’ children.

As for the future, however, these individuals expressed concerns regarding whether the community systems and structures created through the WVL intervention would be sustained. As one individual noted, “The greatest problem is that not enough people volunteer. They want to be paid.” According to both individuals, there was growing unease regarding the phasing-out of the ADP, including a lack of clarity regarding why WVL was not going to stay in the community on a permanent basis.

 

About the author(s)

Wongani Grace Nkhoma is the Education Programme Manager. Wongani has over 10 years experience working in the development sector. Before joining OSISA, Wongani worked with ActionAid International - Malawi as Regional Manager and Education Policy Coordinator

Contacts

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