Special Focus

Health

A child’s physical health has significant implications on his or her long-term holistic development.

Compassion’s program is designed to ensure children have what they need to grow and develop into all God created them to be. Safeguarding the health of children living in poverty is essential to improving their quality of life, enabling them to stay in school and supporting their holistic development.

A few of the health areas we focus on include:

  • Nutritional support
  • Major medical needs
  • Malaria Prevention and Education
  • HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention

Nutritional Support

Proper nutrition plays a key role in children’s holistic development because, in addition to physical health, it supports cognitive, behavioral and motor skill development.

When children attend Compassion’s program, learn about proper nutrition, eating and preparing healthy foods, as well as the importance of physical exercise to keep their bodies healthy. Churches also host regular medical checkups with local health clinics and doctors to track children’s growth and look for any signs of malnutrition, stunting or medical issues that require treatment.

When health or nutritional concerns arise, the church is empowered to seek the necessary treatment with local resources and Compassion funds that are readily available.

Major Medical Needs

When larger medical issues arise that require surgery or other costly treatments, Compassion Kenya staff work with the church to find quality treatment at a reasonable cost.

Compassion supplements local resources with funding to cover treatment, follow-up care and any travel that may be required. It is our goal to help children receive timely treatment, so they can return to school and focus on learning, playing, and reaching for the bright future ahead of them.

Malaria Prevention and Education Children are especially vulnerable to malaria and its negative effects. In 2019, children under 5 years old accounted for 67% of malaria deaths worldwide.[1] Children living in poverty are at especially high risk, so Compassion Kenya is working with churches to provide protection through insecticide-treated mosquito nets, a proven method for reducing cases of malaria. Churches also host information sessions to educate parents on the effective use of mosquito nets and how to reduce the risk of contracting malaria by avoiding activity near areas with standing water, where mosquitos breed.

HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention

While progress is being made to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Kenya, it continues to be an area of great concern. In 2020, the number of children living with HIV in Kenya was 111,500. In the same year, youth (15-24 years old) accounted for 35 percent of new infections.

Compassion Kenya’s response is two-fold, including anti-retroviral treatment for those infected with HIV/AIDs, and broad education focused on awareness of transmission methods and prevention through risk-avoidance behavior. Efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS infection permeates every aspect of our program:

  •  Our Survival component includes supporting pregnant moms who are HIV+ and educating them on preventive measures they can take to avoid transmission to their babies.
  • Through regular curriculum lessons, we use a holistic perspective to educate children on general disease-prevention and treating others with respect.
  • We teach youth directly about HIV/AIDS, so they understand how it is and is not transmitted, how it affects the whole person and how they can protect themselves by avoiding risky behavior.
  • We promote the dignity of every caregiver and child in our program who is HIV+ by honoring their privacy and managing their situation discreetly. Our desire is to care for those who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS and to prevent further impact by promoting education and healthy choices.

Child Protection

Protecting children is central to Compassion’s mission. Our staff and partners work tirelessly to safeguard children from all forms of abuse and exploitation, including physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect. Children living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation. Compassion and our church partners are committed to serving as  child advocate for children in need. Compassion’s approach to child protection is comprehensive:

  • All staff and volunteers annually complete required training aimed at keeping children safe.
  • Reporting policies ensure clear communication channels for all child protection concerns.
  • Child Protection Specialists (on staff with Compassion) work closely with each church partner to ensure they understand child protection protocols and are equipped to support children who have experienced trauma or abuse, including knowing when and how to involve local authorities and professional counselors.
  • Compassion’s church partners also endeavor to influence their communities by advocating for the rights of children. They host  caregiver education meetings to discuss topics that preserve children’s dignity and support their development. They discourage cultural practices that harm children, and they educate families on deceptive strategies that people may use to harm or exploit their children. They offer hope and support to struggling families by empowering parents and caregivers to protect their children, and they attend to the needs of children at-risk. Compassion recognizes the work of the local church as vital to confronting child protection issues in all contexts. We will continue to work toward a world where children everywhere are valued and protected

Monitoring and Evaluation

Compassion Kenya is committed to quality program in partnership with the local church. Our research and evaluation strategy emphasizes program outcomes. We truly want children and youth to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to be released from poverty. We believe data, complemented by ongoing dialogue, is key to ensuring program quality, so we have developed a process for regularly monitoring program impact at a local level. Then we – in partnership with the church – evaluate gaps, apply learnings and respond with innovation and agility.

Compassion Kenya has a team of research and evaluation specialists whose primary function is to measure and document the extent to which our programs are achieving our mission. Here are the tools we use:

  • Poverty Probability Index (PPI) – Compassion Kenya equips churches to effectively assess the needs of children registered in the program. The Poverty Probability Index (PPI) is an internationally recognized measurement process that assesses household poverty levels through a brief survey. It is simple, cost-effective, and enables churches to ensure they are reaching children with the greatest economic needs.
  • Child Case Studies – Child and family information is collected on each child when they register. Information is updated annually throughout the course of the child’s involvement in the program. This allows for long-term analysis of how Compassion’s program impacts each child.
  • Program Impact Evaluations – We are building out the way we assess program impact by using data science to measure the following:
    • Program quality – We measure program quality through indicators that show how well we are meeting our objectives. For example: Objective: Start early; Measurement: Trackage at registration Objective: Reach the neediest children, families and communities; Measurement: Track poverty level of each child registered Objective: Make sure each child is known, loved and protected; Measurements: Track tutor/child ratio, tutor longevity and UNICEF Child Protection Survey Support youth development with higher levels of education and vocational skill-building; Measurement: Track years of education and/or vocational skills at time of departure from the program
    • Inputs and activities – We evaluate individual program inputs and activities to ensure each child benefits from the right interventions to optimize outcomes.
    • Partnership, family and community needs –We assess and measure the needs of our church partners, the families of children in the program, and the needs of the surrounding community to inform program design and planning.
  • One-off Research Studies – Various one-time research studies are performed to investigate specific questions related to programmatic impact. These can also include Comparative studies to research certain differences between children registered in the program and their peers outside the program to determine the effect of participation. We recognize that frequent monitoring and evaluation is essential to sustaining and improving our program and partnerships. We will continue to learn, grow, adapt and respond to effectively release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. 

[1]https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria

[2]https://www.unicef.org/kenya/hiv-and-aids