The Mavambo Trust
Bro. Benjamin Posvo CSsR based in Zimbabwe is the director of the Mavambo Trust which was formed in 2001 to assist children in accessing educational opportunities in the Mabvuku, Tafara and Bhobho regions of Harare. Since its foundation the Trust had developed additional programmes to offer holistic support to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) who have been affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS.
Mavambo’s vision is of a healthy, self-sustaining community throughout Zimbabwe where all children attend well-equipped schools as a way to allow them the chance to plough back into the community in the future. Its mission is to empower children to develop their maximum potential by capacitating them to become socially adjusted, self-sustaining, healthy and responsible citizens.
Empowering children to develop their maximum potential by capacitating them to become socially adjusted, self sustaining, healthy responsible citizens.
1. Accountable: Being liable for one’s actions
2. Commitment: Total focus to duty with or without supervision
3. Empowerment: Equip people with necessary skills, capacity, resources and opportunities to do their level best.
4. Honesty: Being truthful and sincere in words and deeds.
5. Innovation: Being creative and resourceful so as to efficiently get the best results.
6. Non discriminatory: Everyone is treated the same regardless of creed, gender, background, religion or political affiliation.
7. Respect: Unconditional acceptance and tolerance of diverse views.
8. Responsiveness: Timeous reaction to the environment.
9. Teamwork: Being able to work together as one entity so as to achieve the organisation’s objectives in the best possible way.
10. Transparency: Openness, Clearness, Not questionable.
At Mavambo Learning Centre (MLC), children are provided with Accelerated Literacy and Numeracy Education (ALNE) which is a fast track educational program for illiterate OVC who are between 8-12 years. MLC is meant to prepare children for entry into the formal school system so that they can catch up with their peers. ALNE is Mavambo’s core activity and under this programme children are taught English, Shona and Maths as well as receiving HIV/AIDS education.
The 48 OVC at the Learning Centre who attended lessons also benefited from afternoon activities sports, video shows in PSS programmes, drama, music and art. The MLC annual graduation ceremony was held on the 2nd of December 2009. 30 children completed their Accelerated Curriculum at MLC and are now enrolling into the formal primary schools in Mabvuku and Tafara. Considering that the children take an average of one to two years at the Learning Centre and graduate into for an instance Grade 6 without ever going to school is testimony of the splendid work being done.
The nutrition programme is categorised into two; dry and wet feeding. Under wet feeding 161 OVC (73F, 88M) took turns to come for lunch at MLC. Children who include graduates, MLC students and Emergency Assisted Students (EAS) who are on the dinning register took lunch during the school days throughout the year. Children on the morning sessions at school came for lunch whilst those on hot sitting could not. The wet feeding programme was significantly boosted by the completion and subsequent opening of the Children’s Room. Meals are no longer being taken in the open as was the case over the years. Children comfortably have lunch while seated on tables at the same time watching televised programmes.
Dry feeding to 200 OVC (102F, 98M) households is run under Action Aid International’s PRP Programme. All beneficiaries receive 5kgs of Corn Soya Blend (CSB) commonly referred to as mbida per month. 100 beneficiaries receive US$ 20.00 cash monthly.
Schools Health Assessments
The Emergency Schools Health Assessments Initiative (ESHI) was launched in July 2009 by Children First. ESHI is an emergency response intervention to the current basic health and psycho-social challenges being faced within the broader humanitarian crisis currently being experienced in Zimbabwe.
In Mabvuku, Tafara and Bhobho access to basic health by the ordinary households is now out of reach. Then clinic maternity deliveries were pegged at US$80.00, with consultation fees for children below the age of 13 years at US$5.00 while those above 13 years pay out US$7.00 in consultations. This negatively impacted on households that had lost their sources of livelihoods after displacements and the dollarisation in the economy. Home deliveries are now common while no referral to the clinic is done at all when people fall sick. 30 % of school absenteeism is being attributed to illness either by children themselves and/ or illness of members of the immediate family. As a result, children are losing much of their learning time although school fees would have been paid for. Hence there is need to give a holistic support to the children for them to better access their rights to education and health care. The purpose of this intervention is to ensure that OVC have access to basic health assessment and psycho-social support given the households backgrounds the OVC come from.
A pilot ESHI was launched in Mabvuku and Tafara in 11 primary schools. School Health Patrons were identified by the schools in consultative workshops with the schools. These teachers were to conduct basic health education in their schools on assemblies and other school children’s meeting forum.
The intervention targeted all children in the schools and subsequently 10 593 children (5 387F, 5 206 M) were assessed by a team of Registered General Nurses and Nurse Aids from Mabvuku Poly Clinic. A head to tore basic health assessment and counselling where there was need was provided for all children. During the health assessments children were referred to the clinic where they were treated for free with Mavambo settling the bills. 1 serious case of child abuse was identified where an uncle was physically abusing a grade 3 child. A report was made to both Childline and the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Victim Friendly Unit. Chief among the assessment findings were ringworms. This has been hugely attributed to the persistent shortage of clean and safe water in Mabvuku and Tafara. Hunger continues to bedevil the children. 492 children (236F, 256M) received basic medical assistance at Mabvuku Polyclinic. Dental cases and CD4 count tests have been referred to hospitals. Even though 1,100 children were referred to the clinic for further assistance 50% could not visit the clinic before the lapse of the health assessment period.
Medical assistance in the form of transport fees, medication/drug fees, testing fees was extended to children and caregivers. However, due to the huge sums requested in some of the cases Mavambo could not assist but only refer the cases to other partners. Such cases would include costs to undergo an operation or buy glasses to mention but two. Maryknoll Sisters and UNICEF contributed immensely to this programme. Medical referral centres that Mavambo partnered with in the year include St Paul’s Musami Mission Hospital, Mabvuku Poly Clinic, Newlands Clinic, Parirenyatwa Hospital and St Joseph’s Clinic Chishawasha. In September, Doctor D. Mashava volunteered to come to offer routine medical assessments to MLC children whenever there was need. The noble gesture was augmented by an arrangement whereby children are referred for assistance at Mabvuku Poly Clinic with payments for the services being paid later.
By end of the year 154 children (86F, 68M) were on the Anti-retroviral Register under the Children Living with HIV/AIDS programme under Royal Netherlands Embassy. Of these children 32 were receiving follow up services in conjunction with Mabvuku Poly Clinic. Separate support groups were established for both children and adults in Mabvuku, Tafara and Bhobho. People within the programme would group together and discuss on issues surrounding themselves. Herbal trainings on how to grow and harvest herbs were conducted with community volunteers and caregivers. This will enable the community to be self sustaining as well as to appreciate the role herbs can play in promoting good health. The training aimed at improving the lives of both children and adults living with HIV.
The Redemptorists are investing €64,000 in the Muvambo Orphans and Vulnerable Children programme in 2012.
The Redemptorists are also implementing Orphans and Vulnerable Children programmes in several other African countries.