Child and social protection programmes are making a difference for the most vulnerable.
During a High-Level Field Visit to Lupane and Bulawayo, Government officials, donors and UNICEF took stock of the implementation of child and social protection programmes.
UNICEF’s social and child protection programmes aim to reduce the multidimensional poverty among households and to protect children and their families against violence, abuse and exploitation. The programmes include a cash transfer project focusing on vulnerable families and various child protection interventions through community childcare workers, birth registration and child-friendly justice. The programmes are implemented in support of the Government’s social welfare programmes, with the support of Sweden, the main contributor to the Child Protection Fund III in Zimbabwe.
A large group travelled to Lupane and Bulawayo to meet with the child and social protection programme beneficiaries. Participants included Mr Simon Masanga, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare and his team; Mr Henry Machiri, the Registrar General; Representatives of the Bulawayo and Matabeleland North Provinces; Dr Bertollet Bwira Kaboru, the Head of Cooperation of Sweden; Ahmadou N'Diade, Deputy Director for USAID in Zimbabwe; and Dr Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe.
A rich programme of visits in Lupane, the provincial capital of Matabeleland North, allowed the participants to meet with the District Development Coordinator and the Social Development team of the Lupane district. Later, the delegation interacted with Community Childcare Workers from different wards in the Lupane district and met with vulnerable households benefitting from UNICEF’s lead Emergency Social Cash Transfer programme. The mission in Lupane ended with visiting the Lupane District Civil Registry Office and learning to how the civil registration and identity management system works at a district level. The Lupane visits were complemented by a visit to the Child-Friendly Court of Bulawayo, as part of the Victim Friendly Justice System, and a visit to the Luveve health facility.
The High-Level delegation goes into a focus group discussion with Community Childcare Workers. Community Childcare Workers are the frontline community workers within the National Case Management System for the Protection and Welfare of Children in Zimbabwe. They are “the eyes and ears on the ground” and have a “triggering” role in identifying cases of violence, abuse and exploitation against children at the community level. Seated in the front from left to right are UNICEF Representative Dr Tajudeen Oyewale; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, Mr Simon Masanga; Registrar General, Mr Henry Machiri; the Head of Cooperation of Sweden, Dr Bertollet Bwira Kaboru; and the Deputy Director for USAID in Sweden Mr Ahmadou N'Diade.
Community Childcare Workers (CCW) from the Lupane district posing for a group photo with the High-Level delegation of the Government of Zimbabwe, staff of the Lupane District Social Development team, the representatives of Sweden and USAID and staff of World Vision and UNICEF.
Sonini Ncube and Prisca Alie are Community Childcare Workers (CCW) in the Lupane district. Community Child Workers are responsible for identifying and responding to cases of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the community. When child abuse cases are identified, they refer the victims to appropriate social services. Community Childcare Workers also promote child rights and build community awareness of child protection issues. Community Childcare Workers to support the child protection programme were introduced in Zimbabwe in 2014, initially in a few districts and from 2016, scaled up to 37 districts with UNICEF funding. All 65 districts in Zimbabwe now have Community Childcare Workers. Sweden supports the Community Childcare programme through Child Protection III, managed by UNICEF.
The High-Level delegation meets with the Ndlovu family in Lupane. The family benefits from the Emergency Social Cash Transfer programme. Cash transfers are direct payments to individuals or households, typically made monthly. Cash transfers provide a safety net for those struggling to meet their basic needs. The programme has supported more than 1700 individuals, including 930 children, and nearly 400 households in Lupane. More than 100,000 individuals through 25,000 households throughout the country benefitted from the programme across the eight districts of Gutu, Highfields, Mufakose, Beitbridge, Binga, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza and Lupane. The Emergency Social Cash Transfer programme is managed by UNICEF in close collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe and funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the KfW Development Bank.
Gogo Mapisa also benefits from the Emergency Social Cash Transfer programme. She lives with her two grandchildren. The Emergency Social Cash Transfer programme aims to reduce multidimensional poverty in Zimbabwe and ensure access for those in need to a social welfare system. The programme is rolled-out in close collaboration with the Government and is reaching a growing number of vulnerable households.
Every child has the right to a name and identity. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Constitution of Zimbabwe recognizes this. Nevertheless, over half of all children in Zimbabwe are still not registered at birth. Non-registered children are invisible and particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. With the funding of Sweden, UNICEF supports the Government of Zimbabwe to increase the registration of children at birth. The Registrar General, Mr Henry Machiri, receives the High-Level delegation at the Lupane registration office, informing them about the strategies put in place by the Government to ensure the registration of all children in Zimbabwe.
The Registrar General guides the High-Level delegation, Mr Henry Machiri, and the registration team in Lupane through the Lupane registration offices. The delegation is informed about the registration process of children and witnesses a concrete birth registration happening at the registration desk.
In Bulawayo, the High-Level delegation visited the Child-Friendly Court, which is part of the Victim Friendly System. The Victim Friendly System is a set of measures designed to ensure vulnerable groups' protection and active participation in the criminal justice system. A Victim Friendly Court (VFC) is centred around a vulnerable witness, often testifying in a case of sexual abuse. Given the nature of the trauma, the court is geared towards accommodating the witness.
A Victim Friendly Court has a separation room where the survivor can testify and be protected from re-traumatization. Its key features include a closed-circuit television (CCTV) for capturing the survivor’s statement, an intermediary who will guide and support the survivor throughout the court process, anatomically correct dolls to show the abuse that has occurred, provision for paying witness expenses and staff who will behave less formally during proceedings. The Head of Cooperation of Sweden, Dr Bertollet Bwira Kaboru, is visiting the separation room. Sweden supports UNICEF’s programme for Child-Friendly Justice through the Child Protection Fund III.
The two geysers on the roof of the maternity ward at the Luveve Clinic were funded by USAID. In the clinic, these geysers are used to ensure adequate health services and to provide hot showers to pregnant women who have recently delivered their newborns at the clinic.
Smiling, Lisa Mpofu is holding her newborn boy, Asemahle, in the maternity ward at Luveve Clinic.