This case study aims to contribute to the knowledge base on OVC programming by documenting the activities of Heartbeat’s Tswelopele training and mentoring program, which aims to build capacity among community-based organizations (CBOs) working to improve the lives of OVC.
Since its inception in 2000, Heartbeat has reached over 8,500 children directly with OVC care and support services. Through the Tswelopele program, Heartbeat has also partnered with 61 organizations to reach an additional 38,000 children with the Heartbeat model of care services. The Heartbeat model provides children with psychosocial, material and educational support, and assistance accessing basic services throughout South Africa. Services are provided by Care Workers (CWs) during home visits and at After School Centers (ASCs), which are run by Heartbeat staff at each direct service delivery site.
Tswelopele, a training and mentoring initiative, partners participating CBOs with a staff member from Heartbeat who provides a program of training sessions and focused mentoring over a period of at least two years. The Tswelopele program has successfully built the operational and workforce capacity of its many partner organizations, and provided much-needed credibility for fledgling organizations trying to establish themselves as OVC service providers within their communities. An ongoing challenge for Tswelopele is partner organizations’ reliance on sporadic donations and unpaid staff. While the training activities have succeeded in strengthening partner organizations, unmet needs remain.
The past decade has seen an increase in resource mobilization towards interventions for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in southern Africa, but there has been relatively little research documenting the effectiveness of the interventions. This series of case studies aim to contribute to the knowledge base on OVC programming by documenting the activities of various organizations and initiatives working to improve the lives of OVC. These organizations all receive financial support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). These case studies were made possible by financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Southern Africa, as part of the Enhancing Strategic Information (ESI) project implemented by John Snow Incorporated (JSI) in collaboration with Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (TSPH). Information gathering activities took place in 2009 and 2011 and included document review, site visits, key informant interviews and focus group discussions.
Suggested Citation: Neudorf, K., Taylor, T.M., & Thurman, T.R. (2011). Tswelopele: Partnerships for Reaching Orphans and Vulnerable Children in South Africa with the Heartbeat Model of Care. New Orleans, LA: Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Department of International Health and Development.