In response to requests from proactive, rural citizen groups to build upon their commitment, will and existing efforts, ASAP engages in a responsive, respectful and assets-based community development process. Partnerships are formed, predominantly with women, who express an interest in participating in ASAP’s facilitated processes to design culturally congruent solutions for OVC care and other challenges in their villages. This strategy is built on the recognition that quality, in-depth skills training and commitment to own development goals are essential to the enablement of rural women for them to better care for local orphans and vulnerable children, while uplifting themselves and benefiting their communities at large. As ASAP’s approach is aimed at lasting impact, six intensive, hands-on years are invested in working with each community.
An inclusive facilitation process with all village stakeholders, endorsed and supported by the local chief, is key to unlocking and shaping each community’s vision for its development. Together, participants create goals, identify assets and develop ways to leverage them. The paradigm shifts from a needs-based approach to understanding existing strengths as a foundation for building upon. Individuals who have stepped up to deal with challenges in their communities are identified and the skills deficit established through ASAP’s facilitated assessment processes for CBO boards, management, caregivers, cooks and other members within the framework of the community development goals. ASAP staff members then facilitate various capacity building opportunities at the appropriate level to assist these individuals in dealing with the needs in their communities. Community Based Organisations (CBO) are formalised and supported in reaching full compliance, accountability and sustainability.
Skills development activities include:
- Basic bookkeeping, which is invaluable to both managing donor money in emerging community-based organisations and later government grants, as well as people’s own income generating initiatives and own budgets. Each CBO is additionally mentored in their accounts processes for an average of three years before their first formal audit.
- Organisational development and computer literacy, to ensure good governance and record keeping.
- Nutritional training, to enable caregivers to provide nutritious daily meals, with a special focus on supporting the health of immune-compromised children.
- Permaculture gardening, to assist CBO members in developing the CBO gardens and avoid malnutrition resulting from limited access to fresh produce, as well as for income generation from selling surplus produce.
- Psychosocial skills, to address the inevitable emotional issues resulting from the devastation of HIV and extreme poverty in the OVC, youth and broader community.
- Early Childhood Development, to assist the caregivers in supporting the development of the young orphans and vulnerable children.
- First Aid, to assist with basic emergencies like cuts, burns, snake bites, emergency labour and to avoid problems resulting from the remote location and lack of access to basic medical.
- Home Based Care and Enterprise Development training is provided from time to time, depending on the needs and priorities of the communities.
- HIV and TB literacy events are coordinated with the Department of Health to sensitise participants and spread awareness and support.