S ome organizations are quiet but efficient. One such organization is the Kenya Orphans Rural Development Programme (KORDP).
This organization, like many others, works with impoverished communities that have been especially badly affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. KORDP is involved in the capacity building of the communities in Kenya it services so that those communities can better care for orphans and vulnerable children as well as spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. It takes this two-pronged approach in order “to address both the prevalence of the disease and the stigma associated with it.”
Initiated in 1966, KORDP is a non-governmental organisation that was established in Kenya “to promote community orphan care and support initiatives while contributing to the reduction of HIV/AIDS prevalence within KORDP’s partner communities in the country.”
In addition to its work in Kenya KORDP works with its sister organisations in Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda to have a regional impact on the problem. These organizations come under the umbrella of Orphans Development Programme International (ODPI), a non-governmental organisation which
is registered in Canada and operates in Africa from KORDP’s headquarters.
Orphans' Development Programme International is a non-profit Non-Governmental Organisation established to promote care and support for children living in difficult circumstances , their foster families and communities in Africa. ODPI ranks as
its top priorities rendering children vulnerable to suffering in Africa to-day are HIV/AIDS and Armed conflicts. Both of these scourges are “different armies in their own right but with similar repercussions. They weaken the communities' defense mechanisms and rob families off their capability to care for their children.”
Within Kenya, KORDP works in two Districts of the Western Province and in one District in the Central Province. In the Western Province, it works in Webuye, and Kimilili Divisions of Bungoma District and in the Matayos and Budalangi Divisions of Busia District. In the Central Province it works in Kigumo Division of Maragwa District. These communities were chosen a baseline study in 1999 showed that these had the greatest need.
It is the intent of KORDP to bring about solutions by working from the top down. Central to this effort is the establishment within rural villages of early childhood development daycare centres (ECDs), which cater for children from the ages of three to six. It is also very vital to sustain these certres. These centres are so important because as many of two
-thirds of these children have lost one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS.
These ECDs, afford the children nutritious meals prepared by volunteers from donated food. The donations come from both outside donors and from the communities themselves. These centres also allow the children to have the opportunity to play and talk and to develop socially. With regard to their education, the children are given basic exposure to numeracy
and literacy lessons. These lessons are often crucial in enabling them to go on to receive a primary school education.
KORDP’s community nurses visit their partner communities’ ECDs regularly and check the health of the children. The organization also works closely with local governments, helping communities to access the training, funding and support that is available from the relevant ministries in fields such as education and agriculture and health.
The communities and caregivers must be able to support themselves if the are to support the young children as well. KORDP provides the necessary training and basic resources – such as seeds and dairy goats, pigs or chickens – to improve food security and enable caregivers to earn an income. Also, having an ECD to look after young children
benfits the community in that it frees the time of caregivers to engage in agriculture based income-generating activities.
Because the communities themselves decide which are the most needy caregivers who should receive the support KORDP can offer the process takes on a democratic process driven by grassroots concerns.
KORDP also provides education for the communities so that they can develop the skills they need to care for young children. This education encompasses: nutrition, health and lessons in the importance of psychosocial support. The lessons in the importance of psychosocial support are provided so that the children can be given the space to express themselves and work through their emotions. By raising the awareness of HIV/AIDS in communities, KORDP helps to reduce the stigma associated with the disease and slow its spread and thereby slow the rates of children being orphaned.
The aim of KORDP is never to foster dependence but to foster reinvigorated community which can look after themselves so that the organisaition can move its attention to a new community.
KORDP’s efficiency and effectiveness is acknowledged by its many partners, which include:
American Jewish World Service
Bernard van Leer Foundation
Embassy of France in Kenya
Lutheran World Relief
National AIDS Control Council (Kenya)
Peace Child International
Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative
Rotary Club International
UNICEF (Kenya Country Office)
World Food Programme (Kenya Country Office)
In November 2005, KORDP was awarded the Oscar van Leer Award, given every two years by the Bernard van Leer Foundation “for excellence in enabling parents and communities to help young children realise their full potential”.
You may not have heard much about Kenya Orphans Rural Development Programme and the Orphans' Development Programme International before, but take a look at their web sites, because you will be hearing more about them in the future.
Kenya Orphans Rural Development Programme
Orphans' Development Programme International