HIV/AIDS Working Group/The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)
Save the Children has been co-convening the CG’s HIV/AIDS working group since 2004. Key activities have included raising the awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on young children through the development of publications including a Coordinators' Notebook, briefs and advocacy materials as well as active participation in the bi-annual International AIDS Conferences and pre-conference symposiums on children and HIV/AIDS (2006, 2008, 2010).
Given the CG’s involvement (as well as Save the Children) in work/meetings of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) convened by CARE USA in 2008 and as a result of CARE joining the CG as a partner in 2009, the CG requested that both Save the Children and CARE co-convene the CG’s HIV/AIDS working group, also now known as the IATF.
The HIV/AIDS Working Group/The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), co-convened by Save the Children and CARE, USA, works under the umbrella of the Consultative Group and includes organizations over100 members representing 40 agencies working in the area of early childhood and HIV/AIDS.
Purpose of the HIV/AIDS Working Group/IATF:
The current work of the HIV/AIDS Working Group/IATF is to define the key interventions needed for children to reach their optimal development from birth to age eight. The key objective of this 2-year initiative, funded by the Hilton Foundation, has been to develop and validate tools and frameworks that can be used as a guide for program managers, service providers, and parents to meet the needs of young children - known as the the Essential Package (EP).
What is the Essential Package?
The EP is a comprehensive set of tools and guides for policy makers, program managers and service providers to address the unique needs and competencies of young children, particularly those affected or infected by HIV/AIDS, in an integrated and holistic way.
Efforts to develop the Essential Package (EP) were led by the Inter-Agency Task Force on ECD and AIDS (IATF) within the Consultative Group and co-chaired by CARE and Save the Children.
Materials have been developed based on a comprehensive literature review of the effects of HIV and AIDS on young children and caregivers and a review of current programs and materials addressing the needs of vulnerable children, and specifically in relation to ECD. In designing the package, several key resources have been instrumental, including Orphans and Vulnerable Children: A Facilitator’s Guide to Establishing Service Standards1, Speak for the Child (AED), CARE’s 5 x 5 model, The 4 Cornerstones (CG), Care for Child Development (UNICEF and WHO), MICS Indicators (UNICEF), Child Status Index (Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator/ PEPFAR), CDC Milestone Moments, General Comment 7 Indicators (UN Convention on Rights of the Child), Home Inventory (Caldwell, & Bradley, 1984), and Ages and Stages Questionnaire (Brookes Publishing).
The specific components of the EP have been developed so that they can be easily integrated into existing CABA and ECD programs in different contexts, currently focusing on vulnerable children affected by HIV, or facing other challenges such as chronic poverty, displacement, or conflict. It is important to note, that the EP was NOT designed to be a standalone program. However, it can provide important guidance in the development of new programs to improve the quality of care provided to CABA and other vulnerable populations. Moreover, the various components of the EP can be used independently, depending on the needs of implementing agencies. The work that has been conducted to date encourages service providers to consider the holistic needs of children according to their ages and stage of development as well as cultural context and resources available within their community. For more information, see the Essential Package Brochure
The Essential Package consists of three components:
- A literature review, Distinct Disadvantage: A Review of Children Under 8 and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic that provides the rationale for mainstreaming ECD into programming for children affected by HIV/AIDS;
- Frameworks that highlight the critical needs of young children and their caregivers in the context of HIV/AIDS, poverty, and social isolation, with recommended actions to meet these needs in the areas of care and development, health, nutrition, child rights/protection, and family livelihoods; and
- A Tool Kit to support the integration of ECD programming for CABA, including an online clearinghouse for articles, volunteer and program staff guides, evaluation tools and other pertinent information for program design and implementation (see below).
ESSENTIAL PACKAGE TOOL KIT COMPONENTS:
- Situational Analysis provides guidance on how to map the local resources and services that are currently available within a community as well as identify gaps and potential solutions.
- Community Mobilization Guide describes the step by step process to inform key stakeholders on the new activities of addressing young children’s needs and their caregivers within an HIV/AIDS context.
- Frameworks highlight the critical needs of young children and their caregivers within an HIV/AIDS context and the essential actions at the volunteer level to address these needs.
- Visual Guide is a pictorial guide to be used by paraprofessionals to provide key messages to the caregivers on the critical needs of young children and their caregivers and suggested actions for addressing these needs. The guide also provides reflection questions to assist the home visitor in identifying the key needs within the household and probes to better understand the household situation. The guide is accompanied by Guidance Notes provided to program managers to further explain why these areas are critical to promoting optimal child development. PLEASE NOTE: a template will be posted shortly that is easily adaptable i.e. ability to change pictures/suggested actions to best fit the cultural context.
- Program Manager Implementation Guide outlines roles and responsibilities of the program manager and community agents as well as guidance around monthly reflection meetings in order to gather data and monitor the volunteers and how well they are effectively using the tools.
- Monitoring and Evaluation Framework highlights the inputs, activities, outputs, indicators and outcomes at the levels of child, caregiver and caregiving environment.
- Comprehensive Checklist is used for Baseline and Endline data collection in order to track changes over time. The checklist identifies barriers, opportunities and assets that are available in a household and captures data on socioeconomic status, caregiving status, child status, and the caregiving environment.
- Policy Brief provides information on why addressing ECD in HIV and AIDS contexts matters, what the research says, policy implications, and examples of strategies for advocacy.
To be posted:
- Training Manual for Volunteers on ECD to be used by a qualified trainer to facilitate a 5-day training with volunteers on the importance of ECD, the tools being used, and how to effectively incorporate ECD into home based care. (NOTE: development of the training manual is underway based on ongoing trainings and will be available later this year)
- Online Clearing House for Materials Related to ECD & HIV and AIDS will provide a centralized location where any articles, reports, materials and other documents pertaining to ECD in HIV contexts will be housed and easily accessed by program managers, organizations, policy makers and others interested in addressing this issue