Spring 2016 - Ngabu, Malawi

SOS Children’s Villages Ngabu comprises three units, namely the Family Strengthening Programme unit, the Family-Based Care Programme unit (SOS-families) and the Primary School.

The kindergarten is being fully-managed by the community, with SOS Children’s Villages only providing support and quality control. All units were almost fully operational programmes units from December 2015. Construction of the village finished around August 2015, although the electricity was not functioning until the end of the year.

The Family Strengthening Programme is now well established and has already reached 1880 children. 49 children and 11 families of origin exited the programme within its first three years of its operations. The programme aims to be operational at full capacity with 2000 children in 2016. The programme managed to construct 10 houses for those households that required improved accommodation, which has improved the living standards for these families with their children. However, there are still some small defects which will be worked on in 2016.

The Children's Village unit has 10 mothers occupying 10 houses, leaving 5 houses unoccupied. The unit had at the beginning of the year recruited 7 children into SOS families (4 boys and 3 Girls), who have all been registered in the kindergarten and Primary school, except one who is still too young. The children are living in four family houses in the village. The programme aims to identify children in need of a home to fill the remaining houses during 2016.

Main challenges

There were a few challenges that the programme faced last year: 

  • Late/delayed construction of the SOS Children’s Village.
  • Frequent electricity blackouts affecting programme operations. The programme has now acquired a generator to deal with this issue.  
  • Frequent price fluctuations due to instability of local currency. 
  • Highly impassable roads during the rainy season impeding activities like home visits.
  • Floods that affected the community, including many of the families in the Family Strengthening Programme, which became involved in high-scale emergency relief response. The communities have been sensitized to the need to move to upper areas, and affected families were provided with food and other household items like buckets and pots. Children were also provided with books and writing materials to help them get back to school. 

Community involvement

The programme has involved the community in almost all its activities and works to strengthen the capacities of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). One of them is managing the Kindergarten, employing their own members of staff and running their own affairs. 
 
The Primary School also provides opportunities for the community’s involvement through the management of the school. The signing of an agreement with the Ministry of Education has provided the scarce resources of teachers and materials. This will ultimately contribute to the sustainability of the school.