Strategic Planning Part 2—Getting Technical

15 Mar

By Meghann Gunderman, TFFT’s Founder and Executive Director

Stop and think for a minute and think: who would you identify as an orphan or a vulnerable child?

During our strategic planning sessions, defining OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Children) was one of the first tasks we tackled as a group, and the debate was quite controversial.

Many governments and NGOs refer to an orphan as a child who has lost one parent. But what about a situation in which a child only has one parent, but that parent has the means to support the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs? Would you consider that child an orphan? Is that child more deserving of support than, say, a child with two living parents who are unable to provide for the child? What if the child is threatened in a dangerous home environment? What if a child has one parent who can provide love but has no means to provide basic food, education, or medical care?

In order for TFFT to create a concrete action plan, it was necessary to define OVC in our own terms. There are so many factors that affect children in Tanzania, and our definition needed to account for this complexity. We have come up with the following:

OVC defined:

Orphans may not be vulnerable. Vulnerable children may not be orphans.

The definition:

  • Neglected/Abandoned and vulnerable to abuse
  • Has lost both parents and has no support
  • Has one parent who cannot provide for the basic needs
  • Has both parents who are too poor to support their needs
  • Mentally handicapped children
  • Children of mentally challenged parents

What do you think? Would you personally add or subtract from this definition?

Photography By Anne Rhett


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