Highly Vulnerable Children Research Center

Program resources

The HVC-RC develops materials for use by program implementers, including evidence-informed structured curricula, M&E guidance, case studies, and resource guides.

Structured curriculum development:

We have worked with numerous organizations to enhance program curricula by formalizing session structure and content, ensuring an appropriate theoretical basis for the intended outcomes, and incorporating evidence-based programming principles. We have also been directly involved in developing a family centered curriculum for adolescent HIV prevention among vulnerable adolescents in South Africa (Let’s Talk).

The Let’s Talk program

Let’s Talk is a 10week structured support group for adolescents aged 1219 years and their caregivers. The curriculum was developed through a collaborative effort between researchers at Tulane University’s Highly Vulnerable Children Research Center and the University of Pretoria in South Africa, with financial support from USAID Southern Africa and PEPFAR. It is designed to address key issues facing adolescents affected by HIV and AIDS, including elevated risk for poor psychological health, sexual risk behavior and HIV infection. These efforts are accentuated by parallel support for caregivers, addressing their individual challenges and working to build skills for effective emotional coping and parenting.

Let’s Talk has a dedicated website that provides more information and access to the curricula, participant workbooks, implementer and training resources, including innovative free e-learning for community stakeholders working with adolescents and youth.

Abangane support group

The Abangane Grief Support program is an eight-session structured peer group for bereaved female adolescents aged 13-19 years. The curriculum originated from a resource manual for implementing support groups with grieving children developed by the South African non-governmental organization Khululeka Grief Support. It was further adapted and standardized through a collaborative effort between Tulane University’s Highly Vulnerable Children Research Center, Child Welfare Bloemfontein and Childline Free State, and Khululeka Grief Support, with financial support from USAID Southern Africa and PEPFAR. Abangane Grief Support is an evidence-based program which has been found to mitigate psychological distress among female adolescents who have experienced the loss of someone important in their lives. Through group sessions, Abangane helps adolescents to understand grief, develops their emotional coping skills, and builds their competence in seeking support and planning for their futures.

A research brief on the Abangane Grief Support program is accessible here.

The Abangane Grief Support curriculum is freely available for use with written permission from Khululeka Grief Support, the HVC-RC or USAID Southern Africa (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License).

The program curriculum is accessible here.

If you would like to implement this program, please contact Khululeka Grief Support at admin@khululeka..org  for technical guidance to ensure that the program is implemented with fidelity to the model and within the intended terms of use. Khululeka offers training to supervisors, facilitators and organizations to implement the Abangane curriculum and retains the sole right as trainers in support of its implementation.

Survey and indicator guidance:

Programs serving OVC are increasingly called upon to measure not only how many children or families they reach, but also changes in the health and wellbeing of the beneficiary population. This guidance document introduces a set of basic outcome indicators recommended for use by program partners working in South Africa, including calculation and measurement details. Indicators are cross-referenced with related recommendations at the international level.

Click on the link below to read or download a pdf of the Baseline Indicators.

  • Guide to Minimum Indicators for OVC Baseline Surveys in South Africa is accessible here.

Case studies:

A case study is considered an in-depth examination of a specific program model or service approach that culminates in a descriptive report. Some case studies focus on the various HVC activities of a selected organization; others examine one key intervention in detail. Still others explore how different organizations provide a common service, such as early childhood development interventions. By documenting program practices and synthesizing lessons learned, case studies can be used to improve programming and promote awareness and replication of promising practices.

Click on the link to read or download pdfs of case studies

Link to Case Studies >>

Case study resource guides:

Case studies often rely on document review, key informant interviews and focus groups. We have created a series of easy-to-use resource guides aimed at helping programs to create their own case studies and effectively apply these qualitative research techniques in the process.

Other resources:

Assessment of curricula used by programs in South Africa to train youth on sexual and reproductive health and rights

In 2013, USAID-SA requested FHI 360 through the Umbrella Grants Project to conduct an assessment of curricula used by programs in South Africa to train youth on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS and pregnancy prevention. More specifically, USAID was interested in assessing whether the curricula are: 1) comprehensive and technically accurate; 2) relying on appropriate training methodology; 2) supporting clear health goals such as prevention of STI’s, HIV infection, and pregnancy; 3) facilitating behaviour change; and 4) based on evidence and have had some effects (including how these effects were being measured). This report discusses the findings, including strengths and weaknesses of the available training materials, identifies gaps, and provides some recommendations for improvement. It also includes a curricula inventory with detailed information for all main curricula assessment criteria (Appendix 1). A summary of these findings is also available below.

Link To Full Report >>

Link To Summary >>

The Highly Vulnerable Children Research Center is funded by the United States Agency for International Development and implemented by Tulane University. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government. The contents are the responsibility of Tulane University and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.