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Project SMILE

Improving Community-based OVC Support

AIHA established an NGO known as the Twinning for Health Support Initiative, Nigeria (THSI) in 2014. With a similar mission to AIHA, THSI has been replicating the highly successful Auxiliary Social Worker Training Program (known in other countries as Para Social Worker) AIHA piloted in Nigeria under an HIV/AIDS Twinning Center partnership with local social work training institutions in Enugu State from 2008 to 2014.

THSI is collaborating with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on the USAID-funded Sustainable Mechanisms for Improving Livelihoods and Household Empowerment (SMILE) program, a five-year project designed to scale-up care and support services for OVC in five states in Central Nigeria — Benue, Kogi, Edo, Nasarawa, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

smile-logoSMILE is working to improve the well-being of 500,000 vulnerable children in the target states, along with 125,000 caregivers. Other key goals include improving Nigeria’s capacity to address the needs of vulnerable children at the state level by strengthening the technical and organizational capacity of local government authorities (LGAs) in close collaboration with the local bureaus of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, and facilitating enhanced collaboration among CSOs and communities to better integrate and manage comprehensive care and support programs for vulnerable children, including household economic strengthening (HES) services.

Our Work Under SMILE

During its first year working on SMILE, THSI and our expert resource partners from the University of Nigeria-Nsukka and the Federal School of Social Work adapted AIHA’s Auxiliary Social Worker (ASW) curriculum to the local context and are currently rolling out initial trainings across the five project states.

THSI plans to continue collaborating with CRS on SMILE during the coming year to expand step-down trainings across the target states.