Nilinde: Support for orphans and vulnerable girls and boys

Nairobi and Coast Counties of Kenya

We work together to support children affected by HIV.

Working at both local and national levels in Kenya, the Nilinde project aimed to increase children’s access to health and social services and support government efforts to strengthen child welfare and protection systems.

As of 2015, 3.6 million orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya were in critical need of care. Forty-seven percent were orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS, and 90% lacked adequate medical, psychological, material and social support. 

Project overview: 2015 – 2019

On this project, Plan International led a consortium that also included Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team, Childline Kenya and mothers2mothers. Known locally as Nilinde, or “protect me” in Swahili, the project worked to support at-risk children in Kenya by focusing on improving the welfare and protection of the most vulnerable households affected by HIV in Nairobi and the Coast Counties of Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Mombasa and Taita Taveta. Nilinde worked with local partner organizations to increase household resiliency and support parents and caregivers to make investments that improve the health and well-being of orphans and vulnerable children.

Through the project, more than 20,000 households participated in village savings and loan groups, with savings and earnings often supporting household health expenditures. In fact, nearly 29,000 children benefited from family enrollment in the national health insurance program as a result. Nilinde also contributed significantly to the government’s goals of increasing HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression by exceeding targets and achieving a 96% viral suppression rate among the children living with HIV in the program, all of whom were receiving antiretroviral therapy.

Working at both local and national levels, Nilinde aimed to increase access to health and social services and support government efforts to strengthen child welfare and protection systems. The project’s holistic case management approach connected health, nutrition, HIV services, psychosocial support and education to economic strengthening services. Designed to graduate families out of program support, these services helped families to develop their abilities to grow and sustain assets, income and skills. 

Nilinde also worked with Kenyan government agencies to strengthen national monitoring and management information systems for orphans and vulnerable children and integrate information and communications technologies and social and behavior change communication campaigns across project interventions. At the same time, the project worked with governmental and nongovernmental partners to use data for decision-making and improve quality services to orphans and vulnerable children.

Project funded by United States Agency for International Development. Amount funded: $38.4 million.

Project stats

and facts

children below age 5 fully immunized, dewormed and received vitamin supplements.
households graduated from extreme poverty to sustainable livelihoods.
of participating children provided with health and HIV services, including HIV education & testing.
Gladness, 57, shows off her health insurance card
Gladness, 57, shows off her health insurance card

Thanks to the Nilinde project’s livelihood and savings trainings, Gladness was able to make an income and start saving enough to enroll herself and her family in Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund.

Overcoming barriers to education
Overcoming barriers to education

Since Nilinde’s intervention, the number of orphans and vulnerable children enrolled in school increased from 134,301 in 2016 to 144,859 at the project’s end, and 135,957 were retained in school during the final academic period, compared to 86,906 in 2016.

Villages savings & loan groups
Villages savings & loan groups

Nilinde created nearly 30,000 villages savings and loan associations, in which participants could pool their money and provide loans to community members in need. The groups were especially popular among women.

More about


Project brief

Nilinde Project: Lessons learned
Learn more


Enabling holistic and family-centered care for children living with HIV in Kenya: Introduction of the Community Mentor Mother Approach
Download the report

Technical brief

Learning from the Nilinde Lamu transition: Highlighting successes and recommendations for future program closures
Read the technical brief

Program brief

Household economic strengthening
Read the Nilinde HES program brief

Program brief

Community health workers
Read the Nilinde CHW program brief

Program brief

Data demand and information use
Read the Nilinde DDIU program brief

Plan International USA

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