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Trucaf Africa is a community-based, pan-African effort created to address the enormous challenges faced by more the 14 million children who have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Africa and the millions more whose parents are sick or dying of AIDS-related illnesses. This unique partnership brings together several African organizations that share a common goal -- increasing the capacity of African communities to provide care, services and assistance to children affected by HIV/AIDS and their families.

The organization recieved a grant for the Zimbabwe-based Bako Family Trust to identify and build on a variety of existing community-based programs that offer proven and cost-effective services to children whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS. By joining together in this endeavor, the five partner organizations have expanded the scope of their combined efforts on AIDS far beyond what any one of them could ever achieve individually. Each partner in the initiative brings to it unique strength, technical expertise as well as important constituencies on the ground in Africa.

Objectives of the Initiative

Trucaf  focuses on four strategic objectives:

Building awareness and reducing the stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS Lack of awareness about AIDS has resulted in fear, shame and denial. The resulting wall of silence has hindered prevention and care efforts. The initiative encourages stakeholders to work together to reduce stigma so that people will support vulnerable children and take advantage of available services without fear.

Extending the life of the parent-child relationship .This allows for the efforts to decrease the period of vulnerabilty experienced by the child and to postpone the age at which orphanhood occurs. Prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections prolong the lives of infected parents and reduce the amount of time lost to illness. Better nutrition and food security improve overall family health.

Preparing families for transition .Parents must be supported as they plan the best possible future for their children. Planning steps include appointing guardians, writing wills and giving clear instructions about the children's future. Families need counseling to surmount their feeling of anxiety and vulnerability, and economic support to overcome the loss of income due to illness.

Ensuring the children's future Access to education and life skills are the basis for enabling children to attain a better livelihood. As communities come under severe economic stress to care for orphans and vulnerable children, young people become more vulnerable to missing school days and caring for sick parents. Community caregivers must be mobilized so that children can stay in school.

Geographical Focus and Guidelines

HACI is currently operational and scaling up in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. HACI is established in Mozambique, Zambia, and Ghana, and is gearing up in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Namibia, Senegal, and Tanzania. The countries have been selected according to the following criteria:

  • Countries with major epidemics and a high burden of orphans and vulnerable children
  • Countries at risk for major epidemics
  • Countries with strong national AIDS programs and/or policies
  • Countries with strong partner capacity and non-governmental organizations' presence
  • Countries with a potential for community mobilization and/or local organizations in existence
  • Countries with the capacity to influence neighboring nations within the region

In order to maximize the impact of services during the start-up phase, partner organizations will identify and replicate proven interventions in the selected geographical areas, as well as promote the sharing of technical expertise between countries in the same region. Three basic principles underpin the initiative: it is child-focused, community-focused and it encourages integrated interventions, as the needs of orphans and vulnerable children do not exist in isolation.

A conceptual model was developed to guide the work of the Initiative. The basic tenets were drawn from the work done by the partner organizations with AIDS-affected communities in Africa. The Circle of Hope conceptual model focuses on approaches that are culturally and socially appropriate, and ones that can be applied on a much larger scale than currently exist. The model and the Initiative are based on the following three fundamental principles, which address issues along the destigmatization - prevention - care - mitigation continuum of HIV/AIDS: child-focused, community-focused, and integrated.

PRINCIPLE 1: Child Focused

Children are in the center of the conceptual model because they represent the next generation of potentially infected young adults. Additionally, activities focused on children directly impact their families, thus families are the second level of the Circle of Hope model. Prevention, care and support interventions focused on children can stem the tide of the pandemic, preventing new infections in the next generation.

PRINCIPLE 2: Community Focused

African families and communities are the front-line caregivers, critical to addressing the enormous challenges confronting the millions of orphans and vulnerable children. Building the capacity of communities to better care for orphans and vulnerable children is the primary focus of the Initiative. Informed by African community, local and national efforts, the Hope for African Children Initiative plans to focus resources and technical support on strengthening them to expand coverage.

PRINCIPLE 3: Integrated

The needs of orphans and vulnerable children do not exist in isolation. Orphans and vulnerable children share the same needs that all children experience in the course of normal growth and development, but, in addition, face the daunting challenges of HIV/AIDS in their families. Although no single intervention, or even a small set of interventions, will address all these needs, the Hope for African Children Initiative will take into account the destigmatization - prevention-care-mitigation continuum.



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