Number of vulnerable children provided with educational support services

How to use this indicator

Given the unique vulnerabilities their households face, children who are living with HIV, or who have caregivers living with HIV, often require educational support services if they are to stay in school. This support provides incentive for caregivers to keep their children in school, because school attendance can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. Adolescent girls who stay in high school, for instance, have been shown to be at lower risk of HIV infection and engage in fewer higher-risk sexual behaviors than those who drop out. Data from this indicator monitor the number of children who receive free basic support to allow them to attend school and provide insight into whether these children are attending school. The information will also give the education sector the ability to track the role that schools are playing to support enrolled vulnerable children. Schools are important partners of HIV programs because they are often used by community-based organizations (CBOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and faith-based organizations (FBOs) to access and provide support to children affected by or living with HIV. Schools, vulnerable children programs, key population programs, CBOs, NGOs, or FBOs often provide children with educational support, and it is important to track children who receive these services to ensure that they are staying in school.


Number of vulnerable children provided with educational support services during the reporting period

Unit of measure



Sum results across reporting period

Method of measurement

Depending on country context, vulnerable children may be defined as follows: a child below the age of 18, who because of circumstances, lacks access to the basic needs and resources in the areas of safety or protection, stability, education, and health that are necessary for optimal growth and development. This category can also include the following subpopulations of children, depending on the population a project targets: children who have lost one or both parents; children with chronically ill parent(s); children of members of key populations; child victims of abuse and exploitation; abandoned children; children living on the street; children born out of wedlock; unaccompanied and separated children; internally displaced and refugee children; children of migrant workers; children of asylum-seekers; children in labor camps; child victims of sexual exploitation; children in armed forces; children in residential care facilities; children in alternative care; or children who engage in illegal behavior, are stigmatized, or under the control of others.

Children must be attending and enrolled in school to be counted for this indicator. Community workers should count the number of children in their catchment area who have received educational support services, regardless of source, during the reporting period. They should coordinate with CBOs, NGOs, and schools to obtain accurate counts for this indicator. They can also confirm this count by asking caregivers at households whether services were received in reference to the school-age children living in their household that are supported by the program. Each child who received any form of educational support service, such as those listed below, should be counted towards this indicator.

Education support services can include the following: school feeding, take-home ration cards, contribution to school materials, school registration, tuition support, contribution to expenses related to schooling, school supervision, school reinforcement, moral support, support for resolution of relationship problems, and death management assistance.

Data source

This information is often collected by programs for vulnerable children on forms such as service provision tools, vulnerable children comprehensive family care tools, household vulnerability assessment forms, referral forms, enrollment registers, and school monitoring forms.


  • Age (4 years and below, 5–9 years, 10–14 years, 15–17 years, 18–24 years, 25+ years)
  • Sex
  • Grade in school
  • Type of support provided (school feeding, take-home ration cards, contribution to school materials, school registration, tuition support, contribution to expenses related to schooling, school supervision, school reinforcement, moral support, support for resolution of relationship problems, and death management assistance)
  • Level of schooling (early childhood development, primary, secondary)

Depending on the official entrance age to primary education, primary school can start for children between the ages of 5–7, with the entrance age for most countries falling into the range of 6–7 years old. Preprimary school can begin as early as age three, depending on the country, although worldwide only half of children ages 3–6 years old have access to preprimary education. Therefore, age disaggregations for this indicator should depend on the country context and the ages of vulnerable children being supported for schooling and vocational training by vulnerable children programs.

Data quality considerations

The number reported for this indicator should be equal to the sum of individuals in each disaggregation type. It is recommended that only one type of age disaggregation be used throughout; overlap should be avoided.

Reporting frequency

Community workers should collect this information regularly, but they should monitor progress monthly with support from supervisors. The indicator should be reported on a biannual basis.

Data element

Education support to vulnerable children


Vulnerable Children, Key Populations, HIV Prevention


Pettifor, A. (2015). Cash transfers conditional on schooling do not prevent HIV infection among young women in South Africa. Retrieved from

Biemba, G., Walker, M. E., & Simon, J. (2009). Nigeria research situation analysis on orphans and other vulnerable children. Boston University, Center for Global Health & Development Initiative for Integrated Community Welfare in Nigeria. Retrieved from

Stark, L., Rubenstein, B., Muldoon, K., & Roberts, L. (2014). Guidelines for implementing a national strategy to determine the magnitude and distribution of children outside of family care. Washington, DC: USAID Center of Excellence on Children in Adversity. Retrieved from

Cantwell, N., Davidson, J., Elsley, S., Milligan, I., & Quinn, N. (2012). Moving forward: Implementing the ‘Guidelines for the alternative care of children.’ Glasgow, Scotland: UK Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland. Retrieved from

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2013). Core Indicators for the monitoring and evaluation of education sector responses to HIV and AIDS in countries with a generalized epidemic. In Measuring the education sector response to HIV and AIDS Guideline for the construction and use of core indicators. Paris, France: UNESCO. Retrieved from

Hargreaves, J. R., Morison, L. A., Kim, J. C., Bonell, C. P., Porter, J. D., Watts, C., . . . Pronyk, P. M. (2008). The association between school attendance, HIV infection and sexual behaviour among young people in rural South Africa. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 62, 113–119.

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