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Pavitra cares for her son who has epilepsy.  She was previously a migrant labourer; a challenging role, especially given her son’s condition.

Pavitra has been given a goat by Carers Worldwide, an organisation funded by UK Aid Direct, that works in Nepal with local partner, LEADS Nepal.

This is Pavitra with her son and goats.

This is Pavitra with her son and goats.

 

Carers Worldwide provides support to 1500 unpaid family carers of people living with mental health conditions or epilepsy.

Now Pavitra receives a regular income, allowing her to settle in the village with her son, and to start her own livelihood.

Carers’ tremendous commitment and the critical role that they play in the lives of relatives with mental health conditions are largely unrecognised in Nepal.

Unsupported, they can be isolated and are at a high risk of developing anxiety or depression and physical ailments, as a direct consequence of their caring responsibilities. Many carers are unable to continue their previous employment.

Child carers are frequently forced to drop out of school.

Carers and their families typically live in poverty as a result of loss of income and opportunities.

Carers Worldwide project aims to:

  • strengthen medical and counselling facilities for carers
  • promote mutual support groups
  • set up alternative care and respite arrangements
  • provide livelihoods and opportunities to develop marketable skills
  • highlight the needs of carers
  • advocate for changes in policy and practice

Improving the lives and prospects of carers has a positive effect on the lives of the relatives with mental health conditions for whom they care. The carers are able to provide a better quality of care and the overall increase in wellbeing and security of the household has huge knock-on benefits for the health and wellbeing of the relative living with a mental health condition or epilepsy.

By highlighting the existence and needs of carers across the project area with local government authorities and community organisations, over the last two years Carers Worldwide has:

  • integrated 400 carers into support groups
  • trained 200 local community health volunteers and 64 government health workers to provide appropriate health support
  • established regular counselling services in the community
  • trained and supported over 750 carers in skills and helped them to establish new sustainable livelihoods that can work with their caring responsibilities
  • provided 225 child carers with ongoing support from school authorities, enabling them to return to school
  • raised 44% of project households above the poverty line, compared to 3% at the start of the project
  • registered two Carers Associations and one Carers Cooperative to enable carers to advocate for policy change, and to work with local agencies to ensure sustainability of services established by the project.

To find out more about their work, visit www.carersworldwide.org

 


The pilot, ran by World Vision, was designed to look at the effectiveness of beneficiary feedback mechanisms and the value this could add to the project beneficiaries.

The key areas of the pilot focused on:

  • what worked in the design of feedback mechanisms
  • how feedback could improve programmes
  • what process and investment was required from a grant holder perspective

MAMTA – Health Institute for Mother and Child, an organisation working on improving reproductive, maternal and child health services in two districts of Uttar Pradesh, India, was one of the pilot grant holders to share their experiences and findings from the process, in an online discussion with fellow UK Aid Direct grant holders.

MAMTA's feedback box

MAMTA’s feedback box

 

MAMTA, who were slightly sceptical initially regarding the feedback pilot, outlined the importance of using sensitivity with the beneficiaries around the process.

They also highlighted the need to match the right approach to the right context.

Following the success of the project however, MAMTA has rolled out further beneficiary feedback mechanisms into their other projects.

To conclude, findings from the pilot showed that:

  • consulting with beneficiaries and using the feedback to adapt programmes meant that the programmes were more responsive to beneficiary needs and were therefore more relevant and effective.
  • The process of giving feedback empowered beneficiaries and made them feel valued.
  • Feedback also supported accountability of both programme and government service providers.

The results and findings from the pilot can be found here in more detail.  www.feedbackmechanisms.org


What policy and legal frameworks are needed for districts to enable local governments to deliver more equitable services?  What capacity-building needs does local government have in Somalia?  How can local governments be more accountable to and responsive to community priorities, with a special focus on equity?  MannionDaniels is about to start working with the Social Affairs Departments of selected districts in Somaliland and Puntland to try to answer these questions.  This is part of the UN Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralised Services (JPLG), which several UN partners contribute to.  MannionDaniels is looking forward to starting consultations and developing some practical solutions together with the selected Social Affairs Departments of Somaliland and Puntland.  This builds on previous work we have done on similar issues both in Kenya at local government level and in Somalia.


Independent evaluation of E4A, Ghana

MannionDaniels’ Technical Team Lead, Rolla Khadduri, visited Ghana last week to work with the independent evaluation team for Evidence for Action (E4A).

MannionDaniels in Ghana

As the DFID-funded Evidence for Action programme is coming to an end, sustainability issues become increasingly important to ensure that the catalytic interventions are embedded within the health system and community structures. For example, in the Volta Region, the team observed an ‘interface’ meeting, where community members and health service providers came together to discuss the quality of maternal and newborn health care provided in their health facilities.  The discussion was lively and participatory, with all members of the community involved, and organised by a strong coalition partner from the MamaYe campaign.  It demonstrated the powerful ability to bring together providers with community members on areas of accountability and demand for improved quality of care.


MannionDaniels is proud to be part of the consortium led by the Population Council, supported by DFID, titled ‘Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) Research Programme’.  As a partner, our work is primarily focusing on Somalia, where we have held initial briefing and orientation with researchers.  The programme itself extends this research in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, and potentially in Burkina Faso, Gambia and Senegal. Inception phase has just finished and research will start in earnest in late 2015.

The goal of the FGM/C Research programme is ultimately to contribute to ending FGM/C within a generation and reducing FGM/C by least 30% in 10 countries within 5 years.  It will do this by demonstrably influencing strategic investments, policies and programmes to end FGM/C, and dramatically expand the body of evidence on the most effective and cost-effective approaches to ending FGM/C in different contexts.

The research programme is organised around four themes:

–        Building the picture of where, when and why FGM/C is practiced through a series of explanatory analyses of existing survey datasets, complemented by qualitative studies amongst various populations at different stages of abandoning the practice.

–        A blend of retrospective evaluations, cost analyses, and case studies of ongoing interventions with prospective implementation research and impact evaluations of new interventions, implemented as multisite studies, to broaden understanding of the benefits and costs of a wide range of approaches to FGM/C abandonment.

–        Understanding the wider impacts of FGM/C on the lives of girls, women, and their families, and the implications of sustaining or abandoning the practice of FGM/C—as well as other harmful practices such as early marriage and gender-based violence—on gender norms and relations.

–        Improving research into FGM/C through developing and testing new or improved methods and measures and building the capacity of national researchers to design and implement high-quality research.

Consortium partners include: the Africa Coordinating Centre for the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (ACCAF) at the University of Nairobi; the Gender and Reproductive Health and Rights Resource and Advocacy Center (GRACE) at Ahfad University for Women (AUW), Khartoum; the Global Research and Advocacy Group (GRAG), Dakar; Population Reference Bureau (PRB); MannionDaniels Ltd.; and the INDEPTH Network. Two eminent researchers, Dr. Gerry Mackie of the University of California, San Diego, and Dr. Bettina Shell-Duncan of the University of Washington, Seattle, complete the team.