Forgotten Voices is committed to fighting the orphan crisis in southern Africa by empowering local churches to care for vulnerable families in their communities. We partner with qualified churches for up to 5 years, helping them deliver holistic custom plans that equip at-risk families/caregivers to provide for their children. We train churches to provide spiritual, parenting and financial education to caregivers, and spiritual, psychosocial and educational support for children; we help churches create savings groups for caregivers so that they become financially independent. Our partnerships are designed to encourage sustainability and local ownership by church members. Assessments are periodically conducted to ensure that the custom plans are being effectively implemented and that the well being of children in the program is improving.
Recent Improvements to Our Model
As a learning organization that cares passionately about the wellbeing of the children we serve, we wanted to ensure that we were doing that in the best way possible. With the help of an independent program assessment, feedback from church partners, field staff, funders, Board of Directors and orphan care experts, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of our model this year.
The process of the assessment helped clarify the parts of our model that are valuable and effective – listening to local voices as experts on their own community, co-creating custom plans around which partnerships are centered, giving partners access to local networks and other service providers that can improve their ministries. The assessment also identified suggestions to improve outcomes – more active capacity building of partners to improve holistic care, requiring certain best practices as part of the partnership agreement, and a more active focus on sustainability.
Our adjusted model will allow us to more effectively serve orphaned and vulnerable children in southern Africa, and more successfully tell their stories of transformation. It has also given us the foundation to build a realistic roadmap for future growth that has complete organizational buy-in and is based on proven best practices in orphan care.