In the Kingdom of Swaziland lives a massive number of children orphaned or in need of care. According to UNICEF recent report , the Country has 120.000 orphaned children, 78.000 of which due to HIV and AIDS. An important action, spread in the Country is the institution of the so-called Neighborhood Care Points.
A Neighbourhood Care Point (NCP) is a place or point in a community where neighbours come together to provide care for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) from the area. This place can be in the form of a house, a church, a community shed, a school or any type of shelter available. Some NCPs begin under a tree, until a roofed structure can be secured. The ‘ideal NCP’ is a place providing emotional support and care, along with a regular balanced meal, in order to secure improved nutrition, health, hygiene and sanitation for OVC. The possible option for the NCP includes:
- basic day-time shelter from rain, wind and cold;
- warm clothing against winter cold;
- basic interaction, and developmental simulation activities for young children;
- availability of first aid treatments and basic health care;
- teaching and story-telling activities to provide life skills and build resilience;
- play, drama, singing and sports opportunities;
- consciousness raising and protection from abuse and HIV infection;
- gardening and keeping of small livestock;
- non-formal and after-school education activities;
- psychosocial support and counselling for children with special needs.
In Swaziland, NCPs were first established in early 2001 in four communities in Hhohho region with support from UNICEF and World Vision. From there on they developed and spread in the Country. UNICEF reports that the average Cost to open a NCP is 8.560 US dollars. Of course the situation can vary in accordance with the several factors (location, food provision, procurements) that are involved in the NCP organization.
Now NCPs in Swaziland are shutting down because of a lack of money and because the expected development of capacity in the Coutnry is not in place. NGOs and WFP, as planned, are leaving the NCP organization to the governmental institutions but still the change have to come. Hopefully, the upcoming national Action Plan will be the opportunity to develop NCPs.