Sustaining prevention, care, and support services for orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe have been cited as key to ensuring their safety from the high risk of HIV infections.
It emerged at the launch of the Mavambo Vana Activity, a five-year project which supports prevention, care, and support services for orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, that ending new HIV infections in children and adolescents will be the master stroke in eradicating AIDS.
Launched in Harare, Mavambo Vana Activity, a brainchild of Mavambo Orphan Care, is a project funded by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Zimbabwe.
The project comes as the organization has recently closed the Mavambo Children Vana program which saw thousands of beneficiaries being assisted in school fees payment, skills training, HIV and AIDS counseling and treatment.
USAID Health Deputy Director Michelle Kouletio revealed that the initiative, funded to US$18.8 million, will assist more than half a million orphans and vulnerable children across Zimbabwe over the next five years.
‘‘At USAID, we believe that every person, every community wants to determine its own future. Mavambo Children Vana has advanced and transformed the lives of orphans and vulnerable children giving them the tools and support they need to unlock their potential and live healthy, productive lives. The children and adolescents who have participates in this program are truly remarkable. That has overcome inconceivable challenges in their young lives, losing parents, moving from relative to relative, escaping violence and abuse, and struggling in school. With PEPFAR’s support, Mavambo Children Vana brought these children health care, education, and social protection services that have saved lives,’’ she said.
Guest speaker, Harare Metropolitan Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mr. Tafadzwa Muguti commended such partnerships as key in improving the lives of orphans and vulnerable children.
‘‘More needs to be done to ensure responsibility and abstinence in adolescents and children to prevent infections of HIV and AIDS. Gross negligence and mismanagement of donor funds by some organizations made us relook at their operations hence us coming up with the PVO bill to put order to errand NGOs who leave their mandate. I want to commend Mavambo as it has managed to account for every cent extended to its organization hence the renewal of funding by USAID. I have witnessed the tremendous work that Mavambo has been doing in Harare and neighboring communities.’’
The new project will run for the next five years and will be implemented in Harare, Goromonzi, Seke, Chitungwiza, and Mazowe.
Story Credit-ZBC Memory Chamisa