By Frederick Philander
A major obstacle in the effort to help orphaned and vulnerable children in Namibia has recently been drastically reduced.
This was said by CAFO’s director, Dr Henry Platt.
“Until now, it has been virtually impossible to identify and keep accurate records of these children, their circumstances and their needs. A total of 32 people came together at the Church Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) head office at the Council of Churches of Namibia (CCN) building in Katutura to be trained in the use of a new database specifically designed to help alleviate this problem,” said Platt.
The volunteers from trainees came from 11 of CAFO’s major project sites around the country. CAFO is an umbrella organization of churches and faith-based organizations whose goal is to help orphans and vulnerable children of Namibia to reach their God-given potential.
“The database is the brainchild of a US Peace Corps volunteer (PCV), Miriam Kashia, who was assigned in 2005 to help the fledgling CAFO group in Karasburg. She recognized the need for the database, and enlisted the expertise of Jay Haase, another PCV, who is an information technology specialist at the Multipurpose Youth Centre in Keetmanshoop.
“After a year of intermittent development, the joint effort was completed, and CAFO has taken the lead nationally with this exceptional tool,” he said.
Using a data collection form, which is customized to match the computer input screen, demographic data can be easily entered.
“In addition to storing basic information about a child, parents, caregiver, and household, the process includes a needs assessment, which covers all seven service areas that CAFO’s funding supports.
“As services are provided, they can be easily entered into a child’s permanent record, helping to avoid duplication of services,” Platt said.
According to him, useful charts, graphs and reports can be generated to help with programme planning and statistical reporting.
“Using information which is carefully collected by means of home visits, and then accurately entered, the database can assist with identifying the neediest children for targeted help,” Platt said.