South Africa: Thogomelo Project


Building South Africa’s capacity to care for its community caregivers and protect vulnerable children.

An estimated 3.4 million South African children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The burden of caring for vulnerable children exceeds the capacity of social services and lies with the community.  Their caregivers – surviving parents, guardians, siblings, grandparents and neighbours face multiple challenges in caring for these vulnerable children.

The Alliance works in South Africa as part of a five year USAID funded project, ‘Thogomelo’, which means ‘to care’ in Venda. Thogomelo’s overall goal is to improve the care, support and protection of vulnerable children by increasing the knowledge, abilities and wellbeing of those responsible for them at the household and community level.

This is being done through implementing a nationwide accredited training project that enhances the capacity of caregivers to meet the challenges they face in caring for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).



  • Developed three accredited skills development programmes and tools, designed to enhance the community caregivers' capacity to respond to child abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The tools include training manuals, workbooks, facilitator guides, study guides, and a comprehensive set of monitoring and evaluation tools
  • Extensive capacity development to 13 training service providers in curriculum content, facilitation and accreditation
  • Capacity building of over 45 registered facilitators, assessors and moderators
  • Over 2300 community caregivers trained across 9 provinces
  • Two good practice case studies developed and disseminated
  • Developed a costing model (CD ROM and guide) for use by the South African Department of Social Development, training service providers and stakeholders to accurately cost the Thogomelo accredited training
  • Significant change in the community, as one caregiver put it: “Now, I think there is more respect. They know how important our role is and how helpful it can be for the person. We are professional now.”
  • Capacity building of government officials from district, provincial and national level


Caring for caregivers

Thogomelo builds the capacity of community caregivers to protect their wellbeing, and enhance the quality of care and protection they provide to children and families. This tackles issues like burn out, fatigue and managing stress.

Thogomelo works with government and training service providers who in turn work with local communities, organisations and other important stakeholders to implement quality training programmes nationally.

Technical support

The Alliance provides technical support to the five year USAID funded programme. Consortium partners are Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH, prime) and Health and Development Africa (HDA, technical lead).

(Last updated December 2012, contact Rita Muyambo for more information)


Thogomelo Project

Rita Muyambo, Team Leader Caregiver Support, based in South Africa

     Thogomelo simply means 'to care' in Venda