Vulnerable Children, Youth, and Families

Strengthening services for vulnerable populations through collaboration

We work to ensure that youth and families that are vulnerable—whether from poverty, because of a disability, or because of their gender and social status—receive the education, care, and services they need to live full and rewarding lives.

We develop the capacity of local NGOs, faith-based organizations, local and national governments, and community volunteer networks to coordinate and deliver services that meet the needs of the people and communities they serve, including orphans and other vulnerable children. We link clients to referral networks and use a case management approach to ensure that vulnerable children and their families receive the care and services they need.

Our Bantwana Initiative builds and scales up models of comprehensive care that enable vulnerable children, youth, and families to move toward social and economic stability. We improve health and wellbeing, in particular among children, adolescents, and young women living with HIV. 

Our data-driven approaches build on family and community strengths, enabling rapid adaptation to emerging challenges, such as COVID-19, and ensuring children, youth, and families access the critical services they need to thrive.

Young boy carries basket overhead
Case Management

We have introduced case management for child protection in several countries, and supported emerging, established, and mature case management systems in low-resource and high-HIV-prevalence settings. We conduct capacity assessments for social welfare departments and strengthen their workforce, and develop national case management frameworks and protocols aligned with policies that track case closure and referral completion rates. We improve coordination between the community-based social welfare workforce and health facility-based staff, and link protection services to schools through early warning systems. We have helped digitize management information systems that track social welfare cases at provincial and national levels.

Disability Inclusion

We bring innovative and creative technical approaches to the gender-sensitive and socially inclusive rehabilitation of victims of trauma and people with disabilities. Working in partnership with a range of NGO’s and government entities to strengthen the disability sector, we improve services provided to people with disabilities so they can lead more productive and fulfilling lives. Our disability inclusion work is guided by the philosophy of Disability Inclusive Development (DID) and the belief that no one should be left behind. Our programs work to ensure that children with disabilities are able to receive an education. We also improve and sustain the independent living and functional ability of persons with disabilities, including those affected by landmines, with mobility limitations and their households in several countries.


Gender inequities hurt girls and women. Power imbalances and harmful gender norms increase the risk of HIV and gender-based violence and hinder education, health, livelihoods, and decision-making in the home and community. 

Many of our initiatives are designed to empower girls and young women to access education, health, and social support services, and employment. We also develop programs that promote protection for girls and systems that respond to abuse. Our teacher training programs and instructional materials are designed to ensure equity, equality, and inclusion of all learners. 

HIV Prevention, Care & Support

Our Bantwana Initiative has been focused on helping the most vulnerable communities in high HIV-burden countries since it was launched in 2006. We train community volunteers and work with government service providers to expand access to a range of health, social protection, and HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. 

Through community-based models and systems strengthening, we increase demand for and linkages to HIV testing, voluntary medical male circumcision, and mental health services; and help people remain on antiretroviral therapy and enroll in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission groups. We also support other needed wrap-around services such as economic strengthening, early childhood interventions, gender-based violence prevention and response, and nutrition. We deliver mobile multi-sectoral HIV initiatives in schools and communities and strengthen coordination among all stakeholders to increase access to care. 

Life Skills Education

Many vulnerable children—girls and young women in particular—lack the information and ability to make responsible and informed choices.  Our life skills education (LSE) programs empower adolescent girls and young women to understand their rights, advocate and communicate for themselves, negotiate risky situations of power imbalance, and access health and social services. We deliver LSE programming in formal and non-formal contexts (including digital platforms), delivering evidence-based curricula in partnership with ministries of education and locally through youth clubs. We train young women as LSE program mentors to provide critically needed psycho-social support and facilitate access to health and social services for the most vulnerable children.



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