AVSI’s presence in Côte d’Ivoire began in 2008 in response to the specific request of USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and PEPFAR (the President’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). Impressed by the implementation and results in AVSI’s social and educational project for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) in the Great Lakes area, USAID asked AVSI to participate in a similar project in Côte d’Ivoire which was already in progress but was not producing the desired results. AVSI began offering the same package of activities—guaranteeing access to and attendance at school, access to healthcare and other educational activities, as well as income-generating activities and training for the caretakers and community to which the children belong—accepting the challenge of adapting to a new context and a large number of beneficiaries while still maintaining its method of building networks and relationships with each individual child and family, and with the surrounding community and associations as all of these have an impact on well-being.
In two years, AVSI reached 10,700 children with their families and community in neighborhoods on the outskirts of the urban areas of Abidjan and Bouakè, involving a dozen local organizations—state-run communities centers and small local non-profits. The success of the first phase led to a new 4 year project begun at the end of 2010, funded by USAID and which foresees the involvement of 21,000 children, their families, with an expanded number of local partners assisting and being strengthened through the program.
In 2011, a new project, co-financed by the European Union, began to address the needs of adolescents in the Abobo neighborhood of Abidjan. The project will provide recreational and educational activities for 4,300 young people between the ages of 15 and 25, favoring the social inclusion of the youth in an area fraught with street violence and recently caught up in the post-election tumult of 2010-2011.
Distance Support Project
Location: Bouakè and Abidjan
Description: Long-term support to 550 orphans and vulnerable children in connection with programming with USAID, improving the conditions for psychosocial and academic progress, while strengthening the capacity of the children’s families, caretakers and local organizations to respond to their needs. Fulfillment of school requirements (uniforms, books, fees etc.), assistance for access to quality healthcare, education on hygiene and prevention of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, organization of after school recreation and educational activities, and creation of programs designed to improve the economic status of the child’s family through training and support to parents.
Donor Partners: Private donors
Strengthening local organizations for more sustainable and quality care for orphans and vulnerable children
Location: Bouakè and Abidjan
Description: Technical and material support to strengthen local community centers and associations to improve the quality of services for 21,450 children in 7,150 families through psychosocial, educational health, nutrition, local capacity building and economic strengthening activities. Focus on a stable adult presence in the life of each child and building networks among families, communities and associations to solidify sustainability of provision of services.
Donor Partners: USAID
Implementing Partners: 13 local non-profits and public community centers
New Horizons - Nouveaux horizons – Integrated support project for the youth of Abobo for growth and professional preparation as the road to active civic participation
Location: Abobo neighborhood of Abidjan
Description: Recreational and educational (formal, informal, job preparation and education to the meaning of work) activities for 4,300 disadvantaged youth aged 15-25, with the goal of promoting positive civic participation in society at city and state level. Heavy emphasis on strengthening of local partners and community centers and community participation through sensitizations, radio and flyer campaigns and 10 Open Houses organized by beneficiaries engaging local state officials and local community members.
Donor Partners: European Union
Implementing Partners: AJECI and other local partners
November 2010 OVC Program Wraps Up First Phase