An evaluation of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Programme in Thulamela Municipality, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Large numbers of children are growing up without adult protection, nutritional support, or financial support because of the AIDS epidemic. Most of the children are forced to act as caregivers and providers in their families. Without adequate support, these children are at risk of being affected by malnutrition and some form of sexual exploitation. The Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme was developed from the home-based care programme to provide children under the age of 18 years with support in core service areas such as HIV prevention education, access to anti-retroviral treatment and psychological care. The aim of this study was to evaluate the extent to which the services of the OVC programme are reaching the intended target groups, namely orphans and vulnerable children. The study employed a qualitative programme evaluation design to assess the implementation of the OVC programme. The researcher used convenience sampling to select 14 staff members serving in the OVC programme. A random sample of 30 children was selected from 6 wards in Thulamela Municipality, South Africa. The study used individual interviews to capture the views of staff members, whereas focus group interviews were used to collect data from the children. The data from both individual and focus group interviews were analysed through content analysis. This process entails exploring the general sense of data and identifying patterns that emerge as themes. The study found that the objectives of the OVC programme were achieved, even though the degrees of achievement differed. The services were to a large extent delivered to the target groups. However, it was found that the OVC programme does not have sufficient capacity and resources. The evaluation has shown that service delivery does not depend entirely on the availability of resources, but on the sacrifices and dedication of staff as well.
Keywords: Programme evaluation, orphans, vulnerable children, nutritional support, homebased care.