The paper examines the degree to which orphans and other vulnerable children is addressed in national development instruments in eastern and southern Africa, assuming that integration brings tangible benefits for orphans and vulnerable children. Findings revealed that while a costed, multi-sector National Plan of Action with strong political support can create opportunities to benefit vulnerable children in the short term, the integration of vulnerable children at the national policy level, particularly into the PRSPs (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper), has made little difference in regard to increased domestic funding, coordination and predictability of resources. Governments have been reluctant to give funding, and what has been given has been dwarfed by the huge (and often off-budget) amounts available from international donors (e.g. PEPFAR). Integration into sectors, especially National AIDS instruments, has also brought clear short-term benefits to vulnerable children, although the research concludes that the value of AIDS instruments may have peaked. Increasingly, integration into social protection mechanisms has brought about small domestic contributions and is likely to be the most effective form of integration for vulnerable children in the foreseeable future. The study concludes that if integration is to bring about long-term benefits for vulnerable children, several key constraints must be addressed, including strengthening the role and capacity of ministries responsible for vulnerable children in future planning and budgetary negotiations, as well as coordinating responses for a wide range of sources. Key recommendations are subsequently made for national governments, donors and civil society and a useful checklist of strategies for integrating vulnerable children into national planning and budget instruments developed.
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