Zimbabwe, January 2014: Vulnerable children speak out on the Child Protection Fund
© UNICEF 2013
Vulnerable children who have been receiving critical child protection services under theChild Protection Fund recently attended the second bi-annual meeting of the Working Party of Officials (National Child Protection Committee) and shared their views on what has been working and the areas that need improvement. Below are some of the key messages they shared:
- Please supervise teachers so that they are more dedicated to their work - they should come to class and should stay in class and teach.
- Children have to take extra lessons but most of us cannot afford them - this is not fair.
- We want all schools to make sure that children with disabilities can move around easily and especially make sure we can use the toilets and access all facilities at school.
- Young mothers (Children who have had babies and are still of school going age) should get help to go back to school including opportunities for vocational skills training (second chance education).
- Special consideration should be made for children in residential care institutions especially those writing examinations to be given an opportunity to finish their Ordinary Levels before being reunified or removed from the homes.
- Free healthcare vouchers are not being honoured so even if social services give us one we still cannot get treatment at the clinics
- User fees for children with disabilities, children living with HIV should be stopped so that they can get all the therapies and treatments they need for free. Free treatment should apply to children with chronic conditions beyond five years.
- Wheelchairs and hearing aids should be provided for free
- Rooms for collecting Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) should not mix adults and children – special considerations should be made for children attending opportunistic infection clinics to have separate queues and special times because of they will need to be served quickly and attend school after.
- Health personnel should be more sensitive when working with children and adolescents with HIV/AIDS and not stigmatise them.
- Please remove fees for medical services such as scans and related costs for pregnant survivors of sexual abuse.
- Most children in rural areas and those in residential care do not have birth certificates.
- Please let teachers or other community leaders sign the documents for us to get a birth certificate if we have no parents.
- Social Workers should be added to the list of people who can make a recommendation to issue a birth certificate.
Cash Transfers (Social Protection)
- USD 50 every two months is not enough for a family of eleven.
- Link parents to Internal Savings and Lending (ISAL) and Income Generating Activities (IGAs) in order for them to be self-sustaining
- There should be independent legal representation of child victims in courts.
- Social Workers and the police should make sure sexual abuse cases are dealt with quickly.
- The law should be harmonized with the Constitution and children should know what the law says.
Child Participation and Best Interest of the Child
- This kind of participation should be expanded for children in rural areas
- The WPO should create platforms to listen to children
- Decisions should always be made in our best interest.