The USAID for Local Partners in Nigeria is an opportunity to directly implement the project as a local partner. It has given the Local Partners opportunity to realize their potentials and contribute significantly towards the overall wellbeing of vulnerable children. ARFH current OVC project, the Local Partners for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (LOPIN) Project is being implemented in Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Rivers within the periods of 2014 – 2019. ARFH LOPIN REGION 1 Project is been implemented across the project states in 17 Local Government Areas (Lagos: 7, Akwa Ibom:6 and Rivers:4) in line with the mandate to mitigate impact of HIV/AIDS on children and their households, through a multi-sectoral approach, leveraging support from the public and private sectors. The activities were implemented to achieve the three key objectives of system strengthening for the effective coordination of OVC activities at the community, LGA and State levels, in addition to capacity building for quality service delivery and increased partnership with government to promote ownership and sustainability. Two innovative approaches adopted by ARFH for this project include the Household Economic Strengthening (HES) Strategy and the Block Grant Intervention.
Household Economic Strengthening:
- The Household Economic Strengthening (HES) activities provide opportunities for Caregivers and Older OVC to acquire vocational skills and receive Start-up materials and equipment for income generating activities. So far the project has empowered 4,416 households (about 18,000 OVCs) with start-up items like sewing machines, food items, hair driers to establish their businesses. Adolescent boys and girls are also being empowered with skills acquisition.
- The ‘trickle down’ effect is increased access to core services by the children and improved Health seeking behavior.
- The Caregivers and children are referred for HIV Testing Services (HTS) and HIV Positive enrollees are assisted to the facilities and enrolled on treatment at no cost.
- The HES is a boost to family resources and has increased adherence to ART with steady reduction in viral load thereby contributing to the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Goal.
Block Grant Intervention:
- The block grant intervention seeks to promote conducive teaching and learning environment and exempts OVC from direct payment of fees and levies in schools.
- The ARFH-LOPIN 1 Project has supported many schools through the block grant intervention including Irepodun Primary School, Qua Iboe Primary School Uyo and Sacred Heart Primary school, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and others.
- Education support items provided include School desks for pupils, wax boards, tables and chairs for Teachers, renovation of Library and provision of SUBEB approved textbooks for use by Teachers and Pupils.
- The ‘Girl Child’ now has the opportunity to complete primary and secondary education in schools benefitting from the block grant interventions like the Ajara Junior Grammar School Badagry (co-educational).