The systems analysis exercise, conducted in January 2010 by the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development (MoGLSD) under the SUNRISE-OVC programme, revealed that the majority of community-based groups or structures providing care and support to OVC lack basic skills in care and protection of vulnerable children.
Based on the above state of affairs, and given the fact that communities and families are the first line of response for OVC but with low protective capacity, the SUNRISE-OVC Project, in partnership with the MoGLSD, made an effort to train representatives of community-based groups/structures (Para-social workers) and build their competencies in child care and protection, in order to fill the above gaps. The Para-social workers, as members of community-based groups, are expected to supplement and complement government efforts in providing social protection to the vulnerable children.
Community-based Para-social workers are recognized as the second line of response to OVC after the family system of care; and their key roles in the community in the care and protection of vulnerable children are: assessing needs of children, identifying vulnerable children, providing child care and support, working with families and caregivers within the community context to provide care and protection of vulnerable children, referring children to existing services, providing ongoing follow-up support to referred child protection issues,promoting actions that address the needs of vulnerable children, identifying and selecting OVC beneficiaries most in need of basic services, mobilizing locally available resources for the OVC response, and participating in community-based monitoring and evaluation of child protection interventions,among others.
TPO Uganda is therefore supporting the efforts of MoGLSD to put in place a skilled workforce at all levels of service delivery in the country, by reviewing and updating the Para-Social Workers’ Training Manual, in order to improve delivery of services to OVC; and to strengthen sustainable local government and community systems that will improve access to utilisation, coverage, quality and holistic social protection services for vulnerable children, youth and their caregivers. The revision and development of this manual is premised on the ever-changing context of the OVC situation in the country, with the view of making it relevant to the emerging needs of OVC and the broader context of child protection work in Uganda.