C.9.Malawi OVC policy environment assessment: an agenda for moving OVC issues forward
R. Chilongozi – POLICY Project Malawi
Objectives & Scope: The situation concerning Malawi’s orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) has been exacerbated by HIV/AIDS and requires urgent attention. The policy environment assessment was commissioned in order to provide the country with building blocks for effective OVC response in terms of planning, funding and implementation of OVC programs. Cognizant of the gravity of the problem and the urgency of the matter, USAID (through the POLICY project) in collaboration with MOGCC and key stakeholders in OVC designed and conducted an assessment] to identify the major policy related issues to consider in the operationalisation of OVC programmes
Methodology: From end 2003 to August 2004, consultations were done with MOG and other key stakeholders and ‘Reference Group of key OVC stakeholders was formed to guide the process. Two consultants conducted literature review and key informant interviews; identifying critical policy issues based on a framework that was agreed upon by the reference group. Findings were presented and critiqued by reference group and wider stakeholders. Recommendations were drawn and further presented to stakeholders for consideration in programming inclusive input to development of the National Plan of Action for OVC.
Results: Overall, the assessment raised the need for the nation to have information that determines the gravity and scale of the OVC problem; refining coordination among players; raising the profile of the problem and strengthening capacities to effectively deal with OVC; It also noted the need for designing standard systems to track progress and impact of all OVC interventions and the need to revisit some of the legislation in order to safeguard and enhance the wellbeing and welfare of OVC.
Conclusions: The assessment provides guidance to implementers and complements what the OVC policy articulates. It also raises some of the important aspects in the overall protection care and support for orphans which are either missed or taken for granted.
Recommendations: Whilst most of the components of the PEA have been covered in the OVC plan of Action, there is need for further dissemination of the issues raised. MOG recommends this to be done together with the OVC EDC policies.