Message from Dr. Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim – UNICEF Zambia Representative
I am proud to note that in the last five years that we achieved a lot with the Government through the leadership of line ministries. In addressing poverty, we managed the social cash transfer programme through generous support of cooperating partners and a significant budgetary contribution from the Government which resulted in the scale up of the programme from covering 50,000 people in 2013 to 187,000 in 2015.
UNICEF worked with other partners on advocacy efforts which assisted the Zambian Government to secure US$152 million from the Global Fund to Fight to HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria of which 40 per cent was applied towards addressing pediatric and infant HIV and AIDS.
Under the National Water Supply and Sanitation Programme, more than 3 million new users of improved sanitation were reached during the last three years alone, thanks to our donors particularly the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). Handwashing increased from 8.6 per cent to 59 per cent of the whole population in 59 districts. This helped to address the root causes of diarrheal and water borne diseases.
Through partnership with the Government and leadership from the Ministry of General Education, for the first time the country put in place a full pledged department handling issues of early childhood learning and development.
Regarding child marriage, the number of girls getting married before the age of 18 dropped by 25 per cent from 42 per cent to 31 per cent. Zambia should be applauded for this albeit important work remains,
As we embark on the new Country Programme, we are mindful of the challenges that women and children in Zambia face. These challenges include low learning achievements, poverty, unemployment, infant and maternal mortality, and child marriage.
In the new Country Programme we will focus on seven major areas, which are strengthening the health system supply and demand for maternal, newborn and adolescent services; nutrition and stunting; HIV and AIDS; water and sanitation, education, birth registration, and implementation of the social protection and social cash transfer programme.
This year, we also start implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 ambitious goals which all 193 UN members states, including Zambia, adopted during the UN General Assembly in September last year. The SDGs succeeded the Millennium Development Goals.
In the context of Zambia, the UNICEF and other UN agencies will support the achievement of results under the SDGs through the Sustainable Development Partnership Framework which we signed with the Government in 2015. The partnership framework defines how the UN in Zambia will support implementation of the SDGs.
This year also marks the beginning of the Delivering as One mechanism in the United Nations System in Zambia which will see UN agencies work together in an efficient manner to achieve better results for the Zambian people.
UNICEF and the UN family remains committed to the cause of Zambia’s children and women. We look forward to working hand in hand with the Government, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders. We want to help make Zambia not only prosperous but the best place for children.
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