what we do
We support governments to adopt or adapt Zvandiri within their national HIV response for children, adolescents and young people. Guided by partnership agreements, a standardised technical assistance programme and quality standards for paediatric and adolescent HIV, our technical assistance teams work with respective governments, local implementing partners and young people living with HIV to establish, implement, monitor and evaluate peer-led differentiated services within the health care facilities and communities. The technical assistance is informed by Zvandiri’s evidence-based training curricula, tools and standard operating procedures, sustained training, mentorship and support delivered on site and through the Zvandiri-ECHO Hub digital platform.
Adoption of the Zvandiri Model in Namibia
In 2019 the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), accompanied by partners and youth, participated in a learning exchange visit to Zimbabwe to see the Zvandiri Model. During a week filled with visits, questions, learning, and laughter, a relationship was formed. The young person within the group stated,
“I was amazed how Zvandiri in Zimbabwe had young people at the centre of the HIV response and they were so involved in helping their peers. It really hit somewhere – I also wanted to help my peers – to be equipped with knowledge and skills so I can equip my peers. I felt that the CATS model would work for us here in Namibia and it is really working the way it is supposed to.”
Following the visit, the Namibian MoHSS, funded by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), engaged Zvandiri to provide technical assistance to implement the Zvandiri Model in two regions of Namibia. Instrumental to the process, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed by MoHSS and a two-year commitment and relationship of collaboration was formed. Following a standardised, phased approach to adopting the model in a new country, the Technical Support Unit of Zvandiri united with MoHSS to engage in the setup, orientation, training and mentorship of the health care workers and NATS (Namibian Adolescent Treatment Supporters). From 2020 to 2022, Zvandiri, MoHSS and the NATS grew their relationship, despite the significant challenge of COVID.
After one year of implementation, MoHSS saw amazing success within the NATS programme and was able to secure further funding from CDC to scale up in three more regions. The NATS were gaining confidence, growing as individuals and peer counsellors and providing much needed care and support to their peers. The team around them was also growing and MoHSS had hired M&E staffing, mentors and continued training and support of the health care workers. The lead of the NATS programme Sylvia Ashikoto MOHSS, states,
“I really feel the NATS programme is well placed in meeting the National Strategic Plan and the goals of the MOHSS.”
Namibia is on track to be the first country accredited as an independent implementer of the Zvandiri Model. Through transparent communication, open relationships, regular contact and bilateral learning, an endline assessment was conducted in May 2022. Plans for further scale up of the NATS programme is planned for October 2022 as they intend to enter two more regions of the country.