ovc

 

OVC, Adolescents and Youth

According to the UNICEF 2010 report social protection/NAP II CPF an estimated 1.6 million Zimbabwean orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) are in critical need of social welfare and protection interventions. This is due to barriers in school enrollment, high drop-out rates, limited access to health services, and elevated risk of exploitation and abuse.

Many children live in single-parent, child-headed, or generation-gap households where caregivers and parents are often unable to meet the costs of supporting families and lack the coping skills necessary to create an optimal environment that supports the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of their children. In this strategic pillar JHWO therefore aims to reduce the vulnerability of OVC to the impact of HIV and AIDS through mitigation activities that will address the socio economic needs of the OVC.

This strategy will strengthen families’ capacity to protect and care for children by prolonging the lives of parents and by providing economic, psychosocial, and other support. In response to the needs of OVC and youth the strategy will mobilize and support communities in efforts to provide immediate and long-term assistance to vulnerable households, conducting activities that will ensure OVC’s access to essential services, including education and health care.

The strategy while acknowledging the National Case Management Framework, will continue to advocate for the protection of vulnerable children to have improved policies and laws and by channeling resources to communities and raising awareness at all levels of society to create a supportive environment for children affected by HIV and AIDS.

In and Out Of School Youths

According to the 2011 National Baseline Survey on Life Experiences of Adolescents (NBSLEA), 2011, 32% of young women aged between 18-24 years experienced sexual violence prior to the age of 18 while 63% of these young women experienced more than one incident. The teenage years are notoriously turbulent. Adolescents establish their own identities, do more things independently, try out different roles, take more risks socially, and experiment with drugs and alcohol, and all this can come with emotional costs.

This and more makes it complicated for parents to tell the difference between the typical turmoil of a teenager, and a depressed teen. Substance abuse exposes adolescents to vulnerable and risky behaviour. Adolescents are often ill-equipped with the necessary life skills to successfully transition to adulthood. The pressure to be available 24/7 on social media may lead to poorer sleep quality as well as an increased risk of depression and anxiety in teens, according to a new study.

Research found that using social media at any point was significantly related to decreased sleep quality, lower self-esteem, and increased anxiety and depression levels in the study participants. Adolescents and youths are also affected by gender based violence and very little is being done to address their challenges so in response to their needs this strategy will target them as a result of the following:

  • There has been 50% increase of AIDS related deaths of young people compared to other population groups (ZIMSTAT).
  • Estimates from the 2014 SPECTRUM Estimates on HIV and AIDS for Zimbabwe also shows that a total of 334.267 are adolescents and young people who are living with HIV aged 10-24 years from a total of 13,350,167 Zimbabwean population.
  • According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care; half of adolescents living with HIV are not on antiretroviral treatment because of a number of barriers, including legal frameworks which have also acted as barriers to access treatment e.g. age of consent.
  • New HIV infections have been one of the major challenges among adolescents, 2014 collected data shows that there has been an increase of 5,979 new HIV infections among youth age groups. With females being the hardest hit (4,151) compared to their male counterparts.

In this strategy Jointed Hands will counter most of these and other factors. While the problem of children in adversity is the lack of guidance in their lives, JHWO will fill in the holes left by the loss of a parent by guiding children through PSS, practical life skills, esteem building and social safety.