August 22, 2014 Pretoria: South Africa and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Friday signed an agreement that will assist government to deliver support to the country’s children.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Government Capacity Building and Support (GCBS) Project was signed in Cape Town by Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini and USAID South Africa Mission Director Cheryl Anderson.
The agreement, which will run for five years, seeks to enhance the capacity of the department and government in general, in supporting orphans, vulnerable children and youth.
The agreement also focuses on strengthening the department’s response in addressing social and structural barriers that increase the vulnerability of orphans, vulnerable children and youth to HIV, sexually transmitted infections and TB.
The MoA emanates from the US/Africa Summit which was held at the beginning of the month in Washington. President Jacob Zuma and Vice President Joe Biden had at the summit reached an understanding on a number of development issues that the countries could collaborate on.
Speaking at the signing ceremony on Friday, Minister Dlamini said the agreement would ensure that children are served through a comprehensive range of services and to the best of government’s ability from birth into adulthood.
She said South Africa had over 19 million children – more than a third of the population – of whom an estimated 60% are said to be living in poverty.
Orphans, vulnerable children and youth face many challenges from the responsibility of caring for sick and dying parents to a lack of resources to meet basic needs such as food, shelter, education and health care.
“The Department of Social Development offers support to orphaned and vulnerable children primarily through the Isibindi Model – an initiative that deploys trained community-based child and youth care workers in communities in an innovative team outreach programme providing care, protection and developmental support to vulnerable children and families.
“Through the Isibindi Model we have reached nearly 90 000 children with critical interventions. We continue identifying child and youth headed households and placing them on a dedicated register so they can receive assistance,” said the Minister.
The Isibindi Model was rolled out last year to address social challenges among children brought on by the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other socio-economic challenges.
Through this model, trained child and youth care workers provide much needed support services to orphaned and vulnerable children such as assisting them to get ready for school in the morning, meal preparation, assistance with homework, registering for social grants and psychosocial support.
“The ultimate aim is ensuring that orphaned and vulnerable children can enjoy a quality of life as close as possible to children who grow up in a normal household.
“We want them to have food, access to education and healthcare, and all other basic needs,” said the minister.
The Minister thanks USAID for extending “a hand of friendship to us” in supporting and protecting children so they can become productive and contributing members of the global community.
The MoU is expected to address specific constraints hampering the health and social development system to achieve better outcomes for orphaned, vulnerable children and youth as well as other vulnerable children.
This will be achieved through improving timely availability of reliable data on programme performance monitoring and evaluation and information on the social effects of HIV and AIDS and other vulnerabilities faced by children and strengthening coordination, management and oversight of community care structures that protect and care for the most vulnerable children and families.
The agreement will also seek to strengthen inter-sector integration and coordination between Social Development and other government departments and building a supportive multi-sector environment for vulnerable children led by Social Development through system strengthening at the national and provincial level.
The department will implement the agreement on behalf of the South African government. USAID is an American agency with a mission to partner to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing security and prosperity.
Last updated: November 26, 2014