SCORE, helping vulnerable children to thrive

Date 23.06.2017

Children who are HIV-positive or who live in households affected by HIV are often vulnerable, with decreased access to education and early childhood development services, inadequate nutrition, and less access to quality health care. In Uganda, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded the “Sustainable, Comprehensive Responses for Vulnerable Children and Their Families” (SCORE) activity to develop household-specific plans to improve children’s lives. The family plans feature a menu of services to address children’s needs, with the goal of “graduating” the household from requiring program support.

MEASURE Evaluation has conducted a performance evaluation of the program (which is led by the AVSI Foundation, with subawards to CARE International, FHI 360, and TPO Uganda). The evaluation, led by a research team at Palladium, discovered that program partners and participants report a variety of good outcomes for families and children—outcomes worth celebrating on this Day of the African Child (June 16).

People whose families are benefitting from the SCORE program reported positive changes in their households. We include here a sample of beneficiary comments, one example taken from six of the program categories for assistance.

Economic Empowerment

“[The] SCORE program has provided [me with] the opportunity to join a savings scheme. I go there and get a loan, which I do not spend in any way. I plan well for it. For example, I can buy a chicken and put it at home. And then, the remaining amount of money I can use to pay school fees for my children. This chicken will now produce; and they will multiply; and I will return the profits back to pay up the loan. So, my income has changed in that way.”

Food Security and Nutrition

“I have two gardens. The first one is for home use and the second one is for business where I grow simsim cereals and ground nuts. These gardens are highly valued and treasured in my household, because the food crops I grow there are important for food security and [selling]. You know, being a widow is a challenge, because you are the sole bread winner. I use the money to support my children in school…”

Child Protection

“We had a training on parenting, and we learned how to handle children in a proper way. Children do not want to be shouted at or be beaten up. You are supposed to show love to your children, though this love is not supposed to be too much to the extent of being permissive. If a child makes a mistake, we are supposed to call them and ask them why they did what they did. But, if we threaten them and shout at them, they will even fear to tell us why… So, I am now bringing up my children in a good way, and that has been because of the training SCORE gave us.”

In addition to its role as external evaluator for SCORE, MEASURE Evaluation works to improve orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) programming by facilitating the collection and use of data to determine what works in these programs and to ensure positive impacts on children and families. Currently, MEASURE Evaluation is assessing the potential for scaling up three OVC programs in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho. All OVC programs help to reach global targets for the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)–Accelerating Children on Treatment (ACT) and Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS)—and ultimately for achieving the goal of an AIDS-free generation. Read about that work here.