OVC Policy and Planning Effort Index

Export Indicator

National Policy and Planning Effort Index score for orphaned and vulnerable children
What it measures

The purpose of the effort index is to measure the current response at the national level to the crisis facing orphaned and vulnerable children. It will identify specific strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in policy and planning efforts.


The index reflects the national OVC task force’s opinion on how well the country is doing in eight areas of response to OVC. In other words, the index measures how the national OVC task force judges the national response when stakeholders are asked to rate the programme on a list of important items. The effort index is intended to measure policy and planning effort independent of programme outputs. For example, policy and planning efforts include items such as the degree of political support, whether laws have been reviewed, and the availability of resources, but do not include output measures such as the proportion of orphans attending school or showing evidence of malnutrition. The effort score can be used as a diagnostic tool to indicate the strength of various areas and to suggest corrective action. In this context, the term ‘effort’ encompasses not only the activities of the national government but also includes those of non-governmental organizations, multilateral and bilateral organizations and others. It assesses if appropriate policies and strategies are in place and can be used to monitor year-to-year changes.


Not applicable


Not applicable

Method of measurement

The OVC Policy and Planning Effort Index is a self-assessment by key stakeholders made by completing a country assessment questionnaire with 100 questions. The indicator is based on a score of 1–100, with 100 being the best score and 1 the lowest. The components covered in the tool are:
Component: The questions related to this component explore:
1. National situation analysis whether the country has investigated the situation of orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and, if so, the nature of that research.
2. Consultative process: the extent to which key stakeholders are involved in planning interventions for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.
3. Coordinating mechanism: whether action for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS is being coordinated and the nature of that coordination
4. National action plans: whether the country has a national plan of action for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, and the nature of that plan
5. Policy: whether the country has a policy on orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and the nature of that policy
6. Legislative review: whether the country has reviewed and updated the legal framework relating to orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS
7. Monitoring and evaluation: whether M&E is being conducted nationally of the situation of orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, and of programmes addressing their needs
8. Resources: the availability of resources to meet the needs of orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS
Each component has a series of questions that follow the same format. First, an overarching question is asked about producing a national product (e.g., ‘Has a body been formally established to coordinate national action for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS?’). This question is answered either ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The second section then asks detailed probe questions, 56 depending on the answer to the overarching question. These probe questions are also ‘yes/no’ questions and seek more detailed information (e.g., ‘Is this body led by government?’). The number of probe questions varies by component. Finally, there is an overall more qualitative rating question, where respondents are asked at the end of each section to rank the quality of work done in that particular area of activity on a scale of 0 to 5. The tool is attached in annex III (of the UNICEF Guide to Monitoring and Evaluation of the National Response for Children Orphaned and Made Vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. The final score for each component is the average score of the ‘yes/no’ questions (which is the proportion of questions answered ‘yes’ of the maximum possible number of questions that could be answered with ‘yes’ in that section) and the qualitative rating score. The qualitative rating score for each component is the proportion of the maximum possible points (5).

Measurement frequency

Age group:

Education: N/A

Gender: N/A

Geographic location: N/A

Pregnancy status: N/A

Sector: N/A

Target: N/A

Time period: N/A

Type of orphan: N/A

Vulnerability status: N/A

Explanation of the numerator
Explanation of the denominator
Strengths and weaknesses

The OVC Policy and Planning Effort Index mainly builds on two tools recently developed in the area of HIV/AIDS. First, it is based on the experience of the AIDS Programme Effort Index (API) developed by UNAIDS, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Policy Project. The API was developed to measure political commitment and programme effort in areas of HIV prevention and care. Furthermore, it expands on the National Composite Policy Index recently implemented by UNAIDS to measure progress towards specific goals of the Declaration of Commitment of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS). The tool and questions could be incorporated into the National Composite Policy Index. The major concern surrounding an effort index is its subjectivity and its reliability. The outcome depends entirely on the choice of informants, and informants will likely change from year to year. The indicator is simple to assess, however, and is designed to complement the existing National Composite Index. Its simple quantitative nature means that it does not give information on the effectiveness of national policies and strategies, only whether they exist or not.

Further information