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Zimbabwe’s successful Education Transition Fund enters second phase

© UNICEF Zimbabwe/2011/Chikerema
UNICEF trucks deliver secondary school textbooks to the UNICEF Zimbabwe Distribution Centre in Harare.

HARARE, Zimbabwe, 18 November 2011 –Following the successful distribution of 15 million textbooks countrywide, the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe, UNICEF and the international donor community, will distribute an additional seven million textbooks to all 2,345 secondary schools while simultaneously launching the second phase of the Education Transition Fund.

The Education Transition Fund is an innovative multi-donor funding mechanism launched in 2010 by the Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, in partnership with UNICEF and the international donor community, to bridge the funding gap in the education sector during the transition period, from emergency to recovery.

Transforming lives

In a country like Zimbabwe, which places great value on education, the Education Transition Fund has transformed the lives of millions of Primary school children around the country through the provision of core subject textbooks. This significant investment has provided the basis for the wider recovery of the education sector.

“This prioritisation translates into the unparalleled commitment of teachers, of communities, and families, and most importantly of the pupils themselves, who are prepared to sacrifice for the goal of education,” said Dr Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative. ”I believe the textbooks have provided a powerful symbol of optimism and being a catalyst for change.”

© UNICEF Zimbabwe/2011/Chikerema
UNICEF Zimbabwe’s Supply and Logistics Manager, Aubaid Raman shows Vice President John Nkomo and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai the distribution map for secondary school textbooks in Zimbabwe.

The declining economic situation of most families in Zimbabwe has had a negative impact on the ability of many parents to send their children to school. This has resulted in an increase in the number of children who have dropped out of school.  The one million children orphaned by AIDS have no financial means to attend school, with some children becoming heads of households, hampering their ability to attend school. Thanks to some of the initiatives in the second phase of the Education Transition Fund, as well as the Basic Education Assistance Module which was revitalised in the National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children 2, there will be equitable access to quality education.

Second phase begins

“Since independence, the Government of Zimbabwe has prioritised education as an indispensable obligation to be fulfilled for all Zimbabweans.” said Vice President Dr. John Nkomo. ”Through the Education Transition Fund we will continue to uphold this principle for the benefit of our future generations”, he added.

Building on the success of the first phase of the programme, the second phase will focus on a vision of access, equity and quality education for all Zimbabwean children. Estimated to cost $85 million, it will provide a broader scope of interventions that will assist the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture to strengthen the education delivery system by improving the quality of educational services, and enhancing access, retention, completion and achievement of students in all schools around Zimbabwe.

© UNICEF Zimbabwe/2011/Chikerema
Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Anders Linden; UNICEF Representative, Dr. Peter Salama; Vice President John Nkomo; Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Minister of Education Sports and Culture, David Coltart listen to proceedings at the launch of the Education Transition Fund in Harare.

“As we work  towards providing access to basic social services to all Zimbabweans, the  revitalisation of the education sector should remain on top of the development agenda, “ said Prime Minister Morgan Richard Tsvangirai. “The Education Transition Fund will go a long way in bringing back.

A collective effort

This ground breaking initiative has provided a model for  similar large national scale initiatives such as the recently launched Health Transition Fund, the Child Protection Fund, which is a result of  Government’s leadership and multi-donor commitment to ensure maximised efficiency, accountability and transparency to improve access to quality basic social services to all Zimbabweans.“We applaud the dedication and strong commitment that our teachers continue to display in the midst of the challenges which have affected the education sector in the past decade”, said Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David Coltart. “Indeed, many schools are moving beyond these grim days as the Government of Zimbabwe together with our communities, the International Donor Community, the United Nations, UNICEF in particular, work towards providing equitable quality education in Zimbabwe.”

Speaking on behalf of the donor community, Swedish Ambassador, Mr. Anders Liden praised the collective effort. “We are happy to see how this much needed support to a sector which will inevitably determine the future of this country,” he said. “This initiative is a clear demonstration of different groups working together to contribute to the attainment of quality education that Zimbabwe’s children much deserve.”



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