The SADC Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) Programme 2013–2018

The CSTL Programme is now in Phase 4, which commenced in 2013 and will end in 2018. While the programme supports all SADC Member States to mainstream and scale up CSTL, funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is primarily directed at supporting seven SADC Member States, i.e. the DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. During this five-year phase, Member States are designing and implementing strategies with interventions in three main areas, which aim to:

  • Strengthen systems in Ministries of Education (MoEs), in order for them to mainstream care and support for teaching and learning effectively, and in so doing, improve education outcomes
  • Access HIV&AIDS and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programmes and services for children and youth – particularly vulnerable girls – to minimize the impact of these issues on their education and other rights
  • Promote and protect the rights of marginalized groups of children and youth, so as to enable them to reach their full potential

The regional goal for CSTL (2013–2018) is that children and youth in SADC realize their rights to education, to safety and protection and to care and support, through an expanded and strengthened education sector response.

Programming Principles

A number of principles guide the design and implementation of this phase of CSTL, described under the following headings:

  • Gender equality
  • Rights-based approaches
  • Child and youth participation
  • Holistic multisectoral approach
  • Evidence-based programming
  • Leadership and good governance

The Programme Pathway of Change

A pathway of change for CSTL 2013–2018  encompasses the three main strategies (sometimes referred to as common and inter-related domains) and reflects the guiding principles listed above. (A pathway of change is a description of a social change initiative that forms the basis for strategic planning, on-going decision-making and evaluation.) The CSTL pathway of change is articulated as follows:

Systems strengthening – If Member States are supported to strengthen, expand and sustain their education sector responses to the prevention, care and support needs of children and youth, especially vulnerable girls …

Improved coordination and integration of services – If Member States are supported to partner with local services and “safety nets” that address HIV&AIDS, SRHR and other health needs of children and youth, especially vulnerable girls …

Policy harmonization and implementation – If Member States advocate for and implement policies and programmes promoting and protecting the rights of marginalized groups of vulnerable children and youth, as expressed in the regional Policy Framework on CSTL …

Then …

Children and youth in SADC will realize their rights to education, to safety and protection and to care and support.

The Programme Interventions

The main areas of implementation are:

  • Policy harmonization and implementation, following the adoption of the SADC Policy Framework on CSTL by the Ministers of Education
  • Advocacy that is targeted and issues-based, on topics such as changing patterns of violence and abuse against children and youth
  • Knowledge management, including the dissemination of research findings, as well as dialogue and exchange through the creation of communities of practice
  • CSTL strategy and governance to promote accountability and transparency, centred on regular meetings of the Regional Steering Committee (RSC) and the annual Education Ministers’ forum
  • Mainstreaming care and support in MoEs, which involves “tailored” support for current CSTL Member States, including strengthening CSTL structures; expanding and consolidating CSTL activities at school level; integrating CSTL monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) into existing MER processes, in order to gather accurate data and to be able to demonstrate impact
  • Initiating the two new Member States (Malawi and Zimbabwe), building on the processes followed with the original Member States that proved to be effective and relevant
  • HIV&AIDS- and SRHR-related activities across the prevention-care-support continuum

This includes education programmes that recognize young people’s rights to access the information they need to make life-saving decisions. Activities aim to increase the knowledge and competencies of children and youth on HIV prevention and enhanced awareness on SRHR, as well as better access to services through youth and gender sensitive information and rights-based approaches, including:

  • Scaling up of proven interventions – where these have been shown to be effective, they are replicated, in appropriate forms, in other Member States.
  • Multisectoral collaboration – partnerships are formed at all levels and across all relevant sectors, to enhance access to services and optimize utilization of resources.
  • Safety and protection for children and youth from all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation – which include activities that target girls and marginalized groups of children and youth.
  • Mobilization activities and ongoing support – which include activities that enable families, caregivers and communities around schools to cope with the challenges facing them and the children in their care.
  • School-based support –with the school either acting directly as the service provider or being the conduit for other service providers to reach vulnerable children and youth, while always striving for a continuum of care between school and home.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER)

The purpose of MER is to facilitate harmonized and holistic tracking and to report on progress on implementation across different sectors and by actors at Member State and regional levels. Guided by approaches described in instruments such as the SADC monitoring and evaluation framework for orphans, vulnerable children and youth 2012–2015 (November 2011), the system must:

  • Measure the extent to which Member States have operationalized the SADC Policy Framework on CSTL and other relevant instruments and guidelines
  • Harmonize monitoring and evaluation indicators for CSTL across different Member States
  • Standardize and systematically disaggregate relevant data and information
  • Facilitate coordination of monitoring across the range of services and interventions for children and youth
  • Determine the extent of collaboration in delivering these services and interventions


Sustainability plans are detailed, at regional, national and local level. Sustainability has been an important consideration from the start, but will be particularly focused on in the final two years of the programme.