Report on Endogenous Models Used by Communities That Have Potential to Support Orphaned, Vulnerable and Isolated Children in Mozambique

The past decade has witnessed a growing interest in the development of approaches that effectively and sustainably address the challenges faced by orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). The use of models imported from continents outside of Africa is recognized as a relative weakness in the provision of effective responses. Stakeholders are now starting to question the degree to which these approaches may have undermined local, culturally contextualized responses used over decades by communities to mitigate the challenges faced by orphans and vulnerable children.

In addition, psychosocial care and support has also gained considerable prominence in responses used to address the problems faced by OVC and is recognized as a complement of child protection. It is however recognized that local models of psychosocial care and support for children do exist and are used by families and communities. It is precisely this recognition that prompted the request for more detailed studies.

The identification of such practices has the potential to inform policies, programmes and the allocation of resources in the future; increasing community involvement and the use of adequate and sustainable interventions to support households, communities and more importantly vulnerable children and youth living in isolation.

It is against this background that REPSSI was commissioned by Foundation for Community Development (Fundação para o Desenvolvimento da Communidade) of Mozambique to carry out the study Endogenous Models Used by Communities That Have Potential to Support Orphaned, Vulnerable and Isolated Children in Mozambique. This work is made possible thanks to funding from the Samuel Family Foundation. The study provides an opportunity to examine local customs and interventions with potential of providing protection and psychosocial support to orphaned, vulnerable and isolated children. This information could be especially valuable to revive positive practices used over time by communities.

This study and approach emerges as a result of work and thinking advanced by Kim Samuel in her collaboration with Oxford University’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative and through her leadership as President of the Samuel Family Foundation. Kim Samuel’s work advances that social isolation includes the experience of profound, sustained loneliness and lack of belonging and can create significant barriers to socio-economic individual and community well-being. Moreover, Kim Samuel has suggested that social connectedness provides people with a sense of belonging through meaningful and trusting relationships and bonds with those around them, facilitates access to supports and opportunities to achieve improvements that are desired and valued by both individuals and groups, and results in tangible assets for communities and nations.

Key Findings

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