Improving Community-based OVC Support

STEER LogoAs part of a consortium led by Save the Children, AIHA helped five states in Northern Nigeria to strengthen local capacity to provide much-needed care and support services to some 500,000 vulnerable children and 125,000 caregivers in the target states of Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, and Sokoto through the USAID-funded Systems Transformed for Empowered Action and Enabling Responses for Vulnerable Children and Families (STEER) project.

STEER was a 5-year project is designed to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on Nigerian children and families by creating greater country ownership and leadership through strengthened governments, civil society, and families.

For the past decade, reliance on the ability of community volunteers to interface with families at the household level, identify their needs, and link them to appropriate services has been a key element of the support community-based organizations (CBOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) provide for orphans and vulnerable children and families in this region.

In 2013 when Project STEER was launched, AIHA was the only pre-service implementer in Nigeria that is addressing the country’s critical social welfare workforce shortage through our successful Auxiliary Social Worker (known in other countries as Para Social Worker) Training Program in Enugu State.

Under STEER, AIHA worked closely with Save the Children and its partners to bolster the professionalism of the social welfare workforce in Northern Nigeria, focusing on building the capacity of staff at CBOs, CSOs, local government authorities (LGAs), and other organizations throughout the region.

AIHA worked with state-level bureaus of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, LGAs, polytechnic institutes, institutes of social work, and community service organizations (CSOs) in the five project states to train Auxiliary Social Workers (ASWs). Together with these stakeholders and the Nigerian National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), AIHA adapted the curriculum to the northern context and upgraded it to a certificate-level course.

Tapping into the knowledge and experience of our Twinning Center partners from Enugu State, we trained institutions of social work in the North, who took the lead on the rollout of the ASW Program across the five project states. Rolling out step-down trainings in all five states targeted under Project STEER, we’ve delivered ASW training to individuals working at the LGAs and CSOs, as well as to community volunteers associated with the project.