Focus On: SERVE Development Programme

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The SERVE Development Programme (SDP) 201215 is a response to the challenges of vulnerability and low levels of livelihood security in targeted communities in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. With support from Irish Aid, SERVE are working with four partner organisations (Tapologo, Tsholofelo, Young Africa Mozambique and Young Africa Zimbabwe) to improve the lives of poor children, young people and adult women and men. Our work focuses on the issues of orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC), HIV and AIDS care and prevention, and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET). SERVE’S work is influenced by the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions to meet the needs of the worlds poorest.

The MDG Report 2014 provides an update on progress towards achievement of the MDGs. There have been successes - several MDG targets have been met ahead of the target of 2015. For example, the world has reduced extreme poverty by half, 2.3 billion people

have secured access to improved drinking water and disparities in primary school enrolment between boys and girls have been eliminated in all developing regions. However, major challenges also remain. Although hunger continues to decline, more work needs to be done to meet targets, as is the case with reducing maternal mortality. Despite improvements in the area of sanitation, over one billion people still resort to open defecation. The SDP places particular importance on the issue of Technical, Vocational Education and Training and youth unemployment. In SERVE's experience, this is one of the major challenges facing developing countries. The MDG Report 2014 does not once mention the phrases "youth unemployment", "unemployment", "vocational training" or "TVET". This is a huge oversight in the MDG agenda. In SERVE's opinion MDGs focused on eradicating extreme poverty, reducing hunger, reducing HIV and AIDS infection rates and promoting gender equality cannot be achieved without acknowledging and responding to the challenge of youth unemployment in the developing world. This edition of Focus On will link the main work of the SDP to the MDG agenda. We will draw on our experience of working in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, comment on the results of our monitoring work and review progress towards those MDGs which are of most relevance to our work.

The first MDG is to “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger� and deals with issues of hunger, employment and income. In discussing issues of extreme poverty (Target 1A), the MDG Report 2014 states that the

world has reduced extreme poverty by half (700 million people). About one in five persons in developing regions lives on less than $1.25 per day. Some regions, such as Eastern Asia and South- Eastern Asia, have met the target of halving the extreme poverty rate, whereas other regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, still lag behind. According to World Bank projections, sub-Saharan Africa will be unlikely to meet the target by 2015 (page 8, 9). Monitoring data collected in South Africa and Mozambique show that SDP beneficiaries are living close to the measure of extreme poverty. In the rural area of Dondo, Sofala Province, 1

Mozambique, where the Young Africa Agri Tech project is located students reported a baseline income figure of $1.54 a day. After graduating and securing employment their daily income increased to $1.80 a day. In the urban area of Beira, Sofala Province, Mozambique, the baseline income figure for young people was $2.50 a day. This figure increased by 45% after graduation to $3.60 a day. In the squatter camps and informal communities located around the mining area of Rustenburg, beneficiaries of Tsholofelo's Community Skills Training Programme reported baseline income figures which amounted to $2 a day. After graduation this figure increased to $2.50 a day. The TVET programme supported by the SDP are having a positive impact on the income generation ability of young people but despite progress, beneficiaries remain in a vulnerable position and monitoring results show that it remains very difficult to generate significant income in rural areas and when young people are reliant on

vulnerable employment in the informal economy which dominates in the SDP target areas. With youth unemployment figures ranging from 50% in Mozambique and South Africa to 80% in Zimbabwe, the exclusion of vocational training and youth employment from the MDG agenda is even more surprising. The MDG Report defines vulnerable employment (Target 1B) as the percentage of own-

account and unpaid family workers in total employment. This accounts for an estimated 56 per cent of all employment in developing regions in 2013, compared to 10 per cent in developed regions. A high proportion of workers in vulnerable employment signifies widespread informal working arrangements. Workers in such situations usually lack adequate social protection and suffer low incomes and Welding students Liberty Chiwawa and Paddington Mirungweni arduous working conditions under which their fundamental rights may be violated (page 10, 11). The main focus of the SDP is on skills training and links to employment and income generation, particularly for young people. In SERVE’s experience there is a real challenge in getting marginalised people into formal employment. The lack of properly developed economies, especially in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, is a major hindrance. There are simply not enough formal jobs in the economy. Therefore, in the short and medium term, many young people and adults have to work in the informal sector to generate income and earn a living and provide for their families. The provision of accessible TVET, linking graduates to employment or helping them establish small 2

businesses has a crucial role to play in meeting the immediate needs of people. It can help to reduce their levels of vulnerability and improve livelihood security. The work of Tsholofelo in South Africa (250+ beneficiaries annually), Young Africa Mozambique (1,000+ young beneficiaries annually) and Young Africa Zimbabwe (1,000+ young beneficiaries annually) is responding directly to the issue of vulnerable employment by placing as many graduates as possible into formal employment. Other are given skills and knowledge to perform better within the informal economy. A common trend across the SDP is that beneficiaries of the TVET components report significantly increased economic activity, increased incomes, higher income growth amongst those that have graduated longest and an increase in self generated income which reduces dependency on already limited family resources - all of which contribute to reducing vulnerable employment. The final target (Target 1C) of MDG 1 relates to hunger. According to the MDG Report,

hunger continues to decline, but immediate additional efforts are needed to reach the MDG target - which is to halve the proportion of people suffering from hunger. Sub-Saharan Africa has shown the least progress in recent years and remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment. Of particular concern is that although chronic under-nutrition among young children declined, one in four children is still affected. Stunted growth, inadequate height or length for age, is one of the major reasons why so many children suffer from under-nutrition. Stunting is more common than underweight, with one in four children affected globally in 2012. It is Tapologo OVC Programme in Freedom Park, South Africa unacceptable that 162 million young children are still suffering from chronic under-nutrition. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of stunted children has actually increased by one third, from 44 million to 59 million between 1990 and 2012. The issue of child nutrition is very relevant for the SDP because we are supporting our partner, Tapologo, to respond to the needs of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) who live in the squatter camps and informal communities in the Rustenburg area of South Africa. The TOVC Programme cares for approximately 650 OVC each month which is still just a small percentage of those who need help. The level of stunted growth amongst OVC in these camps is incredibly high compared with MDG Report data. In 2014, an average of 59% of all OVC were stunted, with male OVC approximately 6% more likely to be stunted. This level of 3

stunted growth is also much higher than national statistics whereby 27% of children under 5 are stunted. This gives a strong indication of the poverty levels within these camps. In a context where the average individual income amounts to roughly €1.70 a day (SERVE monitoring data), it is clear that nutrition needs for mothers and children are not being met due to lack of household resources. The damage done by stunted growth can be permanent, putting victims at significantly higher risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life. Despite the challenges of stunted growth, the TOVC Programme works hard to help OVC reach a healthy weight. In 2014, an average of 64% of OVC were at their "ideal" BMI range for their age. An average of 18% of OVC were moderately "under" their BMI range and an average of 17% of OVC were moderately "over" their BMI range. Analysis of the key trends from November 2013 shows that the TOVC Programme is having a positive impact on the nutrition status of OVC. The table below show the trend in BMI results. Chart A: Trend Analysis, BMI Results on TOVC Programme, November 2013 to December 2014 80% 70% 60% 50% Ideal 40%

Under Under (Severe)



20% 10% 0%

MDG 6 works to “combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases”. HIV and AIDS directly or indirectly impacts on all of our work in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Almost all our beneficiaries are people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS, or people who are vulnerable to acquiring the disease. In discussing Target 6.A, the MDG Report states that "Globally, the number of new HIV infections declined by 44 per cent between 4

2001 and 2012. Southern Africa and Central Africa, the two regions with the highest incidence, saw sharp declines of 48 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively. Still, there were an estimated 2.3 million cases of people of all ages newly infected and 1.6 million deaths from AIDS-related causes. SubSaharan Africa was the region where 70 per cent—1.6 million cases—of the estimated number of new infections in 2012 occurred. “ The main target group of the SDP are young people, who are at high risk of new HIV infections. The Report says that many young people do not know enough about HIV and continue with risky behaviour. Risky behaviour and insufficient knowledge about HIV remain at alarmingly high levels among youth in some regions ... there has been no substantial decline in the past decade in new HIV infections among young people between 15 and 24 years old, despite special efforts targeting that group. In sub-Saharan Africa, the region most affected by the HIV epidemic, only 39 per cent of young men and 28 per cent of young women aged between 15 and 24 had comprehensive knowledge of HIV. In the same region, condom use among young men and young women who had higher-risk sex reached 57 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively. These rates were far below the 95 per cent target. There are signs in several countries of an increase in risky sexual behaviour, such as decreased condom use and/or increased number of sexual partners. Efforts to provide accurate, HIVrelated information and services to mitigate the spread of HIV need to be Students in Domboshawa, Zimbabwe participating in Life Skills training intensified. Young people must understand early in life the ongoing risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections before it is too late.


Life skills training is mainstreamed into the work of our partners Young Africa Zimbabwe and Young Africa Mozambique. SERVE has helped with this work by working with YA to develop a more comprehensive Life Skills Training Manual. Three years of monitoring data shows that young people report a significant increase in knowledge about sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) and make better SRHR decisions. At YA Mozambique, in 2014, 85% of graduates reported better knowledge and choices. At YA Zimbabwe, the overall result is slightly off track 87% of graduates reported better knowledge and choices. Further analysis of the results shows positive trends in the knowledge and actions of YA Zimbabwe graduates, for example:

77% of graduates say a person should wait until they are 20 years old before having sex for the first time, an increase of 24% from the baseline;

86% believe HIV is a major threat to their health, a 31% increase from the baseline;

95% believe that it not ok to pressurise another person to have sex, an increase of 58% from the baseline;

85% of graduates believe that reducing the number of sex partners is a good way of reducing HIV risk, an increase of 15% from the baseline;

64% of graduates used a condom every time they had sex in the past three months, an increase of 18% from the baseline;

With the MDGs expiring in 2015, the international community are working to develop a new set of targets for international development. These are known as the


Development Goals (SDGs) and will be finalised at a UN conference in September 2015. There are 17 proposed SDGs which are broader than the MDGs and which all countries will be pushed to achieve. There is more focus on sustainable economic growth, dignified employment, gender equality and human rights which is to be welcomed as the MDGs overlooked these issues. SERVE will continue to link the work of the SDP to the international development agenda over the next two years.



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