Community-based organisations (cbos) and the child rights-based approach (crba) in implementing services for vulnerable children: a case study of Kuyasa horizon empowerment in Kayamandi, Cape Town, South Africa
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Vulnerable children in Southern Africa are not receiving adequate services to support their human development. The child rights-based approach (CRBA) has become the globally accepted norm informing the quality and variety of multidimensional services children require to realise their rights and ensure their optimal human development. Community- Based Organisations (CBOs) are providing services to children in their communities. Unfortunately, relatively few CBOs in Southern Africa have been able to deliver all the multidimensional services required by vulnerable children to realise their right to survival, protection, development and participation. Yet, in the immediate future, existing CBOs could be capacitated as part of a collaborative approach with governments and donor agencies, to scale up services for vulnerable children. In line with the CRBA and the people centred development approach (PCDA), this research describes the factors that enhance or constrain the services for vulnerable children provided by the CBO, Kuyasa Horizon Empowerment (Kuyasa), in Kayamandi, Cape Town, South Africa. The aim of the case study was to identify and describe these key factors which impact on CBOs service delivery, utilising the CRBA as theoretical framework, so as to provide recommendations for future capacity building with Kuyasa in particular and other CBOs in general. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of research were applied throughout the study using a variety of techniques and instruments. Generally the findings indicate that, in terms of the CRBA, the factors which enhance services for vulnerable children provided by Kuyasa, were (1) their approach to empowerment as a point of departure for other practices and principles, (2) the scope and sequencing of their multidimensional services , (3) the practice of assigning responsibility to children to encourage contribution and the (4) principle of mentorship to validate children‟s iii potential and contribution in the absence of biological fathers. The critical constraints were (1) the variety of challenges children encounter in the community, i.e., sexual abuse, early sexual debut and alcohol abuse, (2) the challenges out of school youth encounter in accessing higher education or employment, (3) conflicting interests which hindered consensus in the participation process and (4) managing complex or prescriptive donor relationships. In light of the critical constraints identified, a collaborative and integrated approach is recommended. The constraining factors identified by this case study cannot be addressed by CBOs in isolation. The challenges children, out of school youth, and CBOs encounter can only be mitigated through a collaborative and integrated approach, where the grassroots level services provided by CBOs are combined with interventions offered by government departments and the development community. Some of the success factors and constraints can be extrapolated and used to inform many similar organisations operating in similar contexts. Finally, framing the findings in terms of the CRBA, promotes advocacy and discourse around a shared theoretical framework.