In Tanzania, there are some 21 million children under 18 (more than half the total population). Of this group, at least 2 million are classified as most vulnerable children (MVC) and 40% of these are AIDS orphans. MVC in Tanzania are typically cared for by a surviving parent, extended family member, or older children in child-headed households. In many cases, these caregivers are themselves vulnerable. Nationally, more than a third of MVC live below the basic needs poverty line.
To date, more than 220,000 MVC have been identified in the northern region of Tanzania, where the Most Vulnerable Children Coordinated Care project works. A large percentage of the MVC are adolescents, ages 15-17 years old. Through this project, JSI will work at the community level to build the skills, networks, linkages, and referrals necessary to create an integrated network of essential service provision for vulnerable children and families, using a child-centered approach. These services include education, protection, health/nutrition/food security, livelihoods, and social well being.
To ensure a solid future for MVC, the project works from the child level at the grass roots up through a complex system of support. It works to strengthen capacity and coordinate care of community-based structures (establishing or reinvigorating MVCCs–Most Vulnerable Children Committees), other community-based organizations, schools, nongovernmental organizations, and governmental structures including the social welfare system and local government authorities (LGAs). The project also works to promote greater vertical and horizontal integration of key ministries charged with support for MVC. All efforts are linked and coordinated with MVCC and LGA activities at the village and district levels.
JSI is a sub-contractor to World Education's Bantwana Initiative on this five-year project funded by USAID.