To develop sustainable results to children affected by AIDS, FXB Village Models are comprehensive, cost-effective and have proven to be effective in helping communities combat the effects of AIDS, and regain greater stability and self-sufficiency in raising a generation of AIDS orphans. Working through CGI partners, each village will include solar energy and connectivity, play pumps, rain harvesting and sanitation, education, and elements to make trade work for the poor.
Based on 18 years of international field work, FXB International has developed a low-cost, community-based Village Model Program that has proved successful in helping families and communities respond to the effects of HIV and AIDS, and regain greater economic stability. This model has been developed and perfected over the years through continual dialogue between local communities and FXB staff, and has adapted to the evolving context of HIV/AIDS policies and activities. Each FXB village model program provides approximately 80 families with a basic package of health, education, psychosocial, and income-generating services.
The Village Model Program has a high success rate--85% of its beneficiary families have succeeded in becoming self-sufficient. In addition, on average, it raises families' profit from under $1 to $4 a day, which is a remarkable achievement. FXB's innovative model was developed through participatory discussions with beneficiaries and adapted to the evolving context of HIV/AIDS programming. It is implemented by locally-recruited staff members, and provides a basic package of services to families, including HIV prevention, testing and counseling; educational and vocational training; medical and nutritional support; and income-generating activities. FXB's Village Model Program helps families become increasingly self-sufficient and capable of managing their own medical and schooling costs over a period of three years. The safety and well-being of especially vulnerable children--whether they are affected by illness, conflict, disaster, or poverty--depend primarily on their family and community. Mobilizing community action for especially vulnerable children is worthwhile and sustainable, but how it is approached and supported makes all the difference.
A key element in sustained action is ownership, i.e., the sense among community members that the problems identified are theirs and that they hold primary responsibility for addressing them. Ownership by a core group of participants often leads to action and involvement by the wider community. An effective mobilization strategy helps communities to analyze their situation and discuss the implications; to identify internal community resources (e.g. knowledge, individual skills and talents, land, ingenuity); to identify priority needs; to develop a strategy to address their priority needs, and to plan activities needed to execute their strategy using internal resources initially.
An FXB Village Model Program can function independently or in parallel with others. Each one is designed to support, advise, and accompany the beneficiaries during the three-year duration of the program, with scaled down costs on an annual basis. Since the basic material for the income-generating activities, health care and education, is provided at the start of the program, families become increasingly self-sufficient and over time, acquire the capacity manage their own medical and schooling costs. In addition, by financing locally initiated small-scale projects designed to generate a continuous income flow, FXB is investing in the development of a thriving and diverse local economy. An external mobilizer using participatory methods can play a catalytic role in enabling a community to determine its own priorities. Providing external resources prematurely or pushing for a donor-defined agenda subverts ownership. These have significant implications for how a community is approached initially and whether or when external support is provided. An external organization needs to formulate its agenda around community priorities, concerns, capacities, and commitments. Where external financing is available to respond to locally identified priorities, it should be provided based on dialogue grounded in mutual respect. Mechanisms for delivering external funds or in-kind support to community groups should build upon community initiatives that are working. While external resources or in-kind support are not the core of groups' staying power, they can supplement and extend what communities are able to do. Factors that motivate sustained action by community members include: compassion for children, a sense of unity, creation of a common vision, and broad community involvement.