Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, has launched a program in Mozambique to improve the economic status of orphans and other vulnerable children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Funded by a more than $60,000 grant from FHI-360 (with funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)), the one-year program is called Capable Partners and provides technical assistance to community-based organizations to establish Village Savings and Loan (VSL) programs in three regions of Mozambique: North (Nampula) Province, Center (Zambezia and Manica) Provinces and South (Maputo) Province.
The intent of Project HOPE’s new economic strengthening program in Mozambique is to improve the stability and economic security of households in which orphans and vulnerable children reside, so that the children and their caretakers are able to reach their full potential. By increasing the capacity of households to save money, obtain loans for business activities and have more steady streams of income, the new VSL programs will increase the chances that these children will be permitted to attend school and have access to nutritious food and clean water.
“Stable households mean that fewer children will be regarded as burdens and cast out of homes to fend for themselves on the streets,” said Simiao Mahumana, Project HOPE’s Country Director for Mozambique.
Since the program started on April 1, Project HOPE has already begun training 14 members of local community organizations to be household economic strengthening officers. 11 VSL groups have been established, and 261 community members have joined the VSLs. Project HOPE staff will monitor and provide guidance to the new VSLs over the next year with the ultimate goal of reaching over 1,400 households with tools and knowledge to achieve greater economic security.
“Project HOPE’s Village Savings and Loan programs have proven to result in better health outcomes and better social and economic support for orphans and vulnerable children and their caretakers in regions of the world ravaged by poverty,” said John Bronson, Project HOPE’s Senior Director for Economic Strengthening. “We are pleased to be able to apply this proven methodology in Mozambique to reach children and their caregivers affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic to work toward a better future for all.”
In Mozambique, Project HOPE also runs the economic strengthening component of the five-year, large-scale Community Care HIV/AIDS Services Strengthening (CCP) project, which is improving the health and quality of life of people living with HIV, pre/post-partum women, orphans and vulnerable children, and their families in selected districts in the seven provinces of the country by strengthening the community-based continuum of care for HIV/AIDS.
Project HOPE and subgrantees have worked with 18,000 vulnerable families to accumulate savings, receive financial literacy training, and earn funds to improve family well-being. These families have generated over $500,000 of new funds for loan and investment activity, with many gaining a 20% return on their savings as investment income and a 15% improvement in socioeconomic status. Project HOPE is also currently conducting a one-year VSL activity as part of an HIV/AIDS prevention program in the mineworker-sending region of southern Mozambique.
Project HOPE has been implementing economic strengthening programs in poverty and disease-stressed areas of the world since 1992. In addition to Mozambique, Project HOPE currently runs economic strengthening programs in Honduras and Namibia.
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, as well as conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 35 countries. http://www.projecthope.org
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