July 2008–November 2018


CSTL is a response by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ministries of Education to the many issues threatening the provision of quality education for the children of the region. These threats include, poverty, food insecurity, pandemics such as HIV&AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and for some Member States, conflict. It was unanimously adopted by the Education Ministers of all Member States of SADC at a meeting in Zambia on 4 July 2008.

Emerging from MIET AFRICA’s Schools as Centres of Care and Support model, CSTL was developed by the SADC Secretariat, in partnership with MIET AFRICA, UNESCO and UNICEF. Its aim is to address barriers to teaching and learning by strengthening education systems, thereby facilitating access to a comprehensive range of support services for vulnerable children and youth. Since 2009, CSTL has been implemented in five Member States: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia. In December 2014, Malawi and Zimbabwe joined the programme as the two new participating Member States in the new phase.

With access through the education sectors in SADC Member States, CSTL provides a comprehensive approach to addressing the barriers to teaching and learning that are associated with health- and poverty-related challenges. CSTL’s goal for 2013–18 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.

It has the following objectives:

  • Systems strengthening—to strengthen, expand and sustain the education sector responses of Member States to the prevention, care and support needs of children and youth, especially young girls
  • Improved coordination and integration of services—to support Member States to partner with local services and safety nets that address HIV&AIDS, SRHR [sexual reproductive health and rights] and other health needs of children and youth, especially vulnerable girls
  • Policy harmonization and implementation—to support Member States to advocate for and implement policies and programmes promoting and protecting the rights of vulnerable and marginalized children and youth, as expressed in the Regional Policy Framework on CSTL

The regional CSTL essential package of care and support of this programme comprises: psychosocial support; safety and protection; water and sanitation; social and welfare services; nutrition; curriculum support; teacher development and support; leadership and structures; health; community involvement; infrastructure and material support. In their CSTL national model, individual Member States customize the essential package to the care and support priorities according to their local contexts.

CSTL is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, with counterpart funding from the participating Member States.

In the years of implementing CSTL, it became increasingly apparent to partners that there was a major gap in the delivery of care and support to boys and young men, which was hindering programme goals for gender equality, HIV reduction and improved educational outcomes for all children. Read about a Boys’ Vulnerability Study here.

Visit the CSTL website: http://cstlsadc.com to find out more.

Email: Maureen King maureen@miet.co.za.


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