partnership condoom

Evaluating the StopAIDSNow! 'Choices for Children' project in South Africa

Kessels and Smit is currently involved in an evaluation of the StopAIDSNow! Project supporting work with children affected by HIV and AIDS in South Africa.

This is a nice project, as it involves collaboration between Holland and South Africa.  StopAIDSNow! (SAN!) is a Dutch partnership between Aids Fonds and four Dutch organisations providing international development aid: HIVOS, ICCO, Cordaid and OxfamNovib.

Each of these organisations has been supporting different organisations in South Africa doing work with children, and in 2004 SAN! had the opportunity to submit a funding proposal to the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

The collaboration was to support some upscaled and innovative work by South African partners in addressing the situation of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs for short) in South Africa, which  has huge number of child-headed households where the children have lost one or both parents due to HIV and AIDS.

The South African partner organisations for the project include: Save the Children, Dance4Life, the SA Scouts Association, Twilight Children, Stellenbosch University, The Catholic Institute of Education, The Childrens Institute at the University of Cape Town, Theatre for Life, God’s Golden Acre and Targeted AIDS Interventions.  A very mixed group of community organisations, Universities, faith-based groups etc!

The project was funded in 2005 and runs until the end of 2009, with a budget of over €4m.  What is particularly exciting is that the project has a strong learning component, called the ‘Joint Learning Project’, which seeks to establish a Community of Practice between the different partner organisations, with four focused ‘learning tracks’.

We had to submit a proposal to get the work, and were selected from a large number of other bids.  We assembled a diverse team of 7 that included people from Kessels and Smit South Africa (myself, Philippa), some other consultants in South Africa who had specialist expertise to bring, as well as being from different parts of South Africa (Warren Parker, Davine Thaw, Dudu Radebe and Masingita Lambane) - and Maaike Smit from Kessels & Smit in Holland!  So a truly international collaboration!

The first phase of the evaluation has been to undertake a Desk Review of all the project documentation, which we have just completed.  Now we go into a ‘field work’ phase, in which we will engage more intensively with all the partners, and then we will share our findings with the Dutch and SA partners in September/October.