Sweden donates US$15 million to UNICEF actions in Zimbabwe
By Richard Nyamanhindi
Harare, Zimbabwe, 10 March 2014 – The Government of Sweden has donated US$15 million for UNICEF thematic programs support to Zimbabwe to help disadvantaged women and children. The donation will support interventions targeting millions of children, young people and women in need of clean and safe water, protection against preventable diseases, education, child protection, social policy and advocacy. This is the second contribution to UNICEF Zimbabwe’s country program (2012-2015) from the Swedish Government, bringing the total amount of assistance to US$30 million.
“It is our vision that every boy and girl will have equal opportunities in life, enjoy their rights and grow up to become adolescents with a future of their own choice,” said His Excellence, Lars Ronnås, the Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe.
“Sweden has a long history of promoting children’s rights, in our own country and elsewhere…and today we are very happy to announce Sweden’s commitment to continue supporting the poor and most vulnerable women and children in Zimbabwe and the best way to do that is to contribute with flexible un-earmarked funding to UNICEF’s country programme.”
This contribution from the Swedish Government will provide millions of children with access to health and nutrition, social protection, access to clean and safe water and increase youth participation. The donation will also fund education and advocacy in the next two years.)
“We are seeing a steady improvement in the number of doctors and nurse midwives who are now attending to pregnant women and young children, access to water and sanitation has improved through the on-going rehabilitation of water sanitation facilities…but there is still a long way to go,” said Reza Hossaini, UNICEF Representative to Zimbabwe. “UNICEF Zimbabwe is one of only two UNICEF programs globally that is receiving these country-specific thematic funds from Sweden (the other being Bolivia). Zimbabwe’s grant however is almost six times greater than Bolivia’s. This therefore places a greater responsibility on UNICEF to manage these funds effectively and efficiently.”
As the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe continues to improve, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVAC) 2013 estimates that at least 33 per cent of children under five are acutely malnourished, with thousands of them requiring urgent therapeutic and supplementary feeding. Close to half of the population is affected by a shortage of clean water due to deterioration in infrastructure. Millions of children are at risk of getting sick from preventable diseases such as measles, typhoid and cholera, which have killed thousands in the past. The youth are faced with a multiplicity of problems such as HIV/AIDS and unemployment.
With this contribution the Government of Sweden has become one of UNICEF’s largest partners in Zimbabwe. The Government of Sweden’s support for UNICEF’s thematic response compliments its longer-term development strategy in Zimbabwe. This entails implementing a holistic package of interventions that ensures and looks beyond the immediate survival needs of children by making certain that their rights to education, health and protection are also addressed.