Fact Sheet: Lesotho ECCD Special Initiative
In 2012, more than 15.1 million children in sub-Saharan Africa had lost one or both parents to HIV. The effect of parental loss on a child can be severe, especially as it frequently exacerbates poverty. UNICEF estimates that more than 200 million children worldwide are unable to achieve their full potential because of inadequate nutrition, care, and opportunities to learn—resulting in a 20 percent loss of adult productivity.
Government, civil society, and the development community are increasingly striving to address this challenge in specific countries and the southern African region. However, there is a limited evidence base from which programs can draw expertise and guidance. Regionally, few randomized control trials, the gold standard of evaluation, have evaluated the effectiveness of existing programs for orphans and vulnerable children. The USAID-funded and directed Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Special Initiative conducts research in four southern African countries—Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe—to generate data regarding successful approaches that result in improved health, and utilize this evidence to improve and inform programming throughout the region.