Meeting convenes experts to discuss reaching Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) in South Africa


Prof. Josephine Kiamba presenting for PCD 

Participants from South Africa’s departments of basic education, health, social development, alongside UN and regional agencies, academia, civil society and other development partners recently gathered for a workshop centred on South Africa’s response to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), and exploring ways of equipping them with skills to improve their welfare.

There is now an essential need to devise social protection mechanisms and strategies to help society reach OVCs, and these measures should look at the multi-sectoral approach including education, health, nutrition, social development, NGOs, civil society and other groups to work together to reach these children,” said New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Senior Advisor on Food and Nutrition Security, Ms Boitshepo Giyose.

Ms Giyose also highlighted the role of the education sector in reaching OVCs, particularly through school feeding programmes, ensuring OVCs are not left on the periphery.  School feeding can provide a social safety net, helping address issues of inequity and gender imbalance. Keeping these children in school, especially girls, can reduce their vulnerability, including to HIV, and provide educational access of value such as through vocational training in agricultural practices, entrepreneurship and life skills education.

The meeting was held, by NEPAD’s Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) and the Partnership for Child Development (PCD) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and follows the completion of an extensive review of available documentation on South Africa’s response to OVCs.

The review, originally commissioned by PCD, conducted by the University of Pretoria in October 2012 complements PCD supported case studies carried out into the National School Nutrition Platform (NSNP) in Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape Provinces also at the same time. 

Alongside Dr Bibi Giyose, presentations were delivered by PCD’s Josephine Kiamba, Senior Technical Advisor on Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) and Dr. Wairimu Muita, Senior Advisor on the OVC Research Programme, which covered an overview of school health and nutrition programmes and inclusion of OVCS, alongside responses to OVCs from South Africa’s departments of education and social development.

In addition to assessing a situation analysis of South Africa’s response to OVCs, the meeting offered participants the opportunity to chart the way forward as they identified feasible ways in OVC protection and reach through break-out group sessions, a stakeholder mapping exercise, and suggested input for a coming OVCs report (which leads on from the analysis).

Conclusions were also made that the OVCs report should be sent to all stakeholders including the National Action Committee for Children Affected by HIV and AIDS (NACCA) steering committee.  



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