Government-NGO collaboration and sustainability of orphans and vulnerable children projects in southern Africa

Alana Rosenberg, Kari Hartwig, Michael Merson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given current donor attention to orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, and the need for a new framework that recognizes the complementary roles of nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), this analysis reviews NGO-operated community-based orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) projects in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. There has been a lack of attention within the field of evaluation to inter-organizational relationships, specifically those with government agencies, as a factor in sustainability. We analyzed evaluations of nine OVC projects funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation for the influence of government-NGO collaboration on project sustainability. For eight of the nine projects, evaluations provided evidence of the importance of the government partnership for sustainability. Government collaboration was important in projects designed to help families access government grants, initiate community-based solutions, and advocate for OVC rights through legislation. Government partnerships were also critical to the sustainability of two projects involved in placing children in foster care, but these showed signs of tension with government partners. In addition to the more common factors associated with sustainability, such as organizational characteristics, donors and NGOs should concentrate on developing strong partnerships with local and national government agencies for the sustainability of their projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • AIDS
  • Africa
  • Government
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Orphans and vulnerable children
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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