In KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, in Durban’s peri-urban community of Valley of 1000 Hills, Horizons partnered with Valley Trust to implement and evaluate a program to provide education and support to orphans and vulnerable children. The study utilized a pre-post test design to assess the feasibility and impact of building the capacity of youth aged 18–24 years to provide HIV education and support to in-school orphans and vulnerable children in their communities. The Valley Trust Youth Caregiver Program trained older youth to provide HIV education, homework assistance, and psychosocial support to orphans and vulnerable children aged 11–15 years. The program aimed to increase HIV-related knowledge, improve HIV communication skills, and decrease stigmatizing attitudes. As noted in this brief, trained volunteer youth caregivers operating in a school-based setting can reach children who are orphaned and rendered vulnerable by their household and community circumstances. The education and support provided likely contribute to improvements in HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and communication among program participants, given that the gains they made were often greater than those of nonparticipants.
Nelson, Tobey C., Eka Esu-Williams, Lungile Mchunu, Pinkie Nyamakazi, S'Fiso Mnguni, Katie D. Schenk, Catherine Searle, and Jennifer Redner. 2008. "Training youth caregivers to provide HIV education and support to orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa," Horizons Research Summary. Washington, DC: Population Council.