An independent evaluation of our Family Strengthening programme has confirmed the value of our community-based approach to supporting orphans and vulnerable children.
Since 1994, official approaches to caring for orphans and vulnerable children have shifted away from institutional care towards community-based care: supporting children within the context of families and communities. In this way children are able to experience their own culture and are better able to negotiate social norms and societal structures in adolescence and beyond.
In line with this approach, Thandanani launched its model of community-based OVC care in 1996. In the last 5 years alone, we have supported over 10,000 beneficiaries through our Family Strengthening Programme, and provided health screening and testing services to over 55,000 individuals.
Now an independent evaluation of our Family Strengthening Programme has confirmed the efficacy of our model. The evaluation, conducted by public health specialist Dr Alexandra Plowright based at Warwick University, was commissioned by one of our largest donors – Kindernothilfe (KNH).
An ‘excellent example’ of care
Dr Plowright’s report describes Thandanani’s model as an “excellent example of OVC care at community level”. In an interview, Plowright suggested the model could be used as a flagship for good practice in OVC care in the rest of the province, and possibly even wider, particularly as a means of support for caregivers.
In a presentation to Thandanani staff on her findings, Dr Plowright described the Family Strengthening Programme as “one of the best projects she had ever evaluated”.
She said while she had no expectations of the project before commencing her evaluation, during the course of her evaluative work she was impressed on all of the major criteria of assessment, including effectiveness, efficiency and impact. “It is amazing what the project has achieved, particularly given its budget,” she said.
Commenting on the findings Thandanani’s Director, Duncan Andrew, said it was an important endorsement of the work of the organisation and a particular acknowledgement of the efforts of Thandanani staff.
“Caregivers and families have been telling us that we are really helping; now we have a formal evaluation that confirms this” he said.