Child Aid Structure and Approach
Child Aid utilizes a well-defined structure in order to reach out to 3,000 families (which in total reaches approximately 15,000 beneficiaries). Village Action Groups (VAG) are the core element in the program. These groups, led by two elected coordinators, are responsible for carrying out the activities of the project and are comprised of between 35 and 40 families each. Special committees are also formed among the VAGs. These committees work locally to discuss and create new initiatives within a given area of responsibility.
Of the ten lines of development in Child Aid, eight of them are standard, although some may be emphasized more than others. The remaining two lines are left open, allowing the community to develop their own focus areas based on the expressed needs of the participants.
Child Aid's 10 Program Lines
Line 1: Family Economy
- Providing skills training and small grants
- Building capacity to carry out income generating activities
Line 2: Health and Hygiene
- Training covering nutrition, hygiene, and basic health
- Raising awareness of preventable common diseases and HIV/AIDS
- Constructing latrines and other sanitary improvements
Line 3: Preschool Education
- Ensuring that children attend pre-school
- Improving existing preschools to adequately accommodate children
- Training teachers as a means to improve preschool programs
Line 4: Children as Active Participants in Society
- Establishing Kids and Youth clubs training their leaders
- Carrying out activities that broaden children’s worldview and gives them confidence to reach their potential
- Raising awareness of HIV/AIDS through peer educators
Line 5: Children at Risk
- Forming Childcare Committees to support vulnerable children
- Raising awareness in order to end Child Labor
- Obtaining access to schools and health care for handicapped children
Line 6: Education
- Training teachers with special emphasis on health, hygiene, nutrition.
- Conducting campaigns to prevent early drop-outs
- Mobilizing people to enroll in vocational training and capacity building courses
Line 7: Community Development
- Connecting families with existing public programs
- Actively cooperating with local authorities and other organizations.
- Promoting citizenship for all
Line 8: Environment
- Organizing nurseries and seed banks and reforestation campaigns
- Executing cleanup activities and establishing waste management systems
- Establishing vegetable gardens and workshops in organic cultivation methods
Lines 9-10: Locally Defined
Five Years of Child Aid
Over the course of 5 years, families participating in Child Aid learn that their community, when organized in a meaningful way, can create positive change. The Child Aid model uses a year-by-year approach to decide the particular focus of each line, with each year building upon the activities of the last. During the first year, for instance, the program focuses upon the children. This initial phase consists of addressing participants' immediate concerns related to health, hygiene and education. The second year of a Child Aid program focuses on the family, specifically on personal income generation and strengthening food security. During the third year of operation, activities are focused on the community as a whole: schools are renovated, playgrounds are built, and communal seed banks are established. The fourth and fifth years of the project maintain the development momentum created over the previous three years and seeks to broaden the focus. For example, families who have been strengthening their food security would be assisted in broadening the market for their products, both locally and regionally.