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Eswatini
P O Box C467 Hub Manzini M223,
Plot 1150 Dvoye Street
Ngwane Park Ext 1
mandla.mazibuko@repssi.org
+268 7604 3105 / 7904 3105
Country Office Overview Partners
 
Background
The kingdom of Eswatini is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. It has a population of 1 018 449 and nearly 80% of the population lives in the rural areas. It has a youthful population with 40% aged younger than 15 years and 52% younger than 20 years. Although the kingdom of Eswatini is classified as lower middle income country, the majority of the population live in the poverty without adequate income to meet their basic needs.

The problem of poverty is also being exacerbated by a three- decade long HIV and AIDS epidemic which has profound effect on the country’s social and economic fabric. According to the Eswatini Demographic and Health Survey (2007), 26% of the reproductive age population (15 – 49 years) are infected with HIV, making it the highest recorded HIV prevalence in the world.

There has been an increase in the number of orphans and vulnerable children as a result of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. The Eswatini Demographic Health Survey (2007) revealed that 23% of children are orphaned and that 31% of children are considered vulnerable. There are about 130 000 orphans and vulnerable children. With the growing strain on communities, children are increasingly exposed to neglect, abuse and exploitation. While 42% of children aged 5 – 14 years are involved in child labour, 33% have experienced sexual violence, with 75% of perpetrators known to the victims.

The current socio-economic environment facing Eswatini has created impediments towards the realization of children’s psychosocial wellbeing. The situation is aggravated by the fact that despite the achievements made by the government in as far as putting legislative and policy frameworks to protect children, Eswatini still does not have a comprehensive child protection system to address children’s needs holistically. The poor and vulnerable children are forced to rely exclusively on their families for social and emotional support.

As the traditional care and support arrangements for children affected by HIV have largely broken, orphans and vulnerable children are unable to meet their basic, social and emotional needs. The Eswatini National Social Development Policy (2009) protects and promotes the rights of all children to ensure that their basic needs are met and that they are provided with opportunities to reach their full potential. Among its many strategies, the policy seeks to provide psychosocial support and social assistance to orphans and other vulnerable children and their caregivers.

Eswatini has made considerate progress towards setting up an enabling legal and policy environment and supporting its implementation to ensure support to vulnerable and their families. UNICEF and REPSSI provided technical support to the Deputy Prime Minister’s office which partnered with the University of Eswatini’s Institute of Distance Education in the roll-out of an 18 months long accredited certificate programme in psychosocial support focussing on youth and children. This has increased the number of adequately trained para- social workers at the community level.

An independent assessment of the certificate in psychosocial support certificate programme was undertaken to determine the extent to which it had contributed to the improved practice in work place of frontline practitioners and care-givers graduates. A key finding was made to the effect that the quality of services which the CBWCY graduates or caregivers provide to children was positively influenced. This was shown by the level of competencies as measured by how one demonstrated and applied the acquired knowledge, behaviour and skills. The graduates have been influenced to think more critically and in a rationale manner and as such they feel more confident and positive of their abilities.

The ability of the CBWCY graduates to deliver has created demand in an area that has serious gap challenges within the social sector but there is always a question of whether the graduates have been provided with enough tools to fulfil the gap and meet national standards where they exist. Another challenge is the strained relationship between the CBWCY graduates and the Lihlombe Lekukhalela (LLs) Child Protection Committees, a significant cadre of community volunteers who play a critical role and function in responding to the ever increasing abuse of children. Some The LLs do not cooperate with the graduates. They go as far as concealing information including the data that is needed by the CBWCY graduates to carry out their duties.





In-country HR capacity
Country Facilitators 10
Mentors 30
Mentors Coordinator 1
Assistant Mentor Coordinator 1
Country Representative 1