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 replicated 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 collaborated 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 worked to improve the well-being of 500,000 vulnerable children in the target states, along with 125,000 caregivers. Other key goals included 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.