£ GBP
Hannah O’Riordan

ZET 30th Anniversary Event

Zimbabwe Educational Trust turned thirty this year!

We commemorated thirty years of advancing educational opportunities in Zimbabwe with an evening of celebration with our loyal friends and supporters from throughout the years. Many of the guests had known of Vuli and the Trust since its founding in 1987, but the evening was also an opportunity to welcome new friends and spread the word.

For those of you who came, thank you so much for your support! Together we raised an incredible £818!

For those of you who unfortunately weren’t able to make it this time, you missed a fantastic evening…

The night kicked off at St Chad’s with a performance by Harmony Choir, a wonderful community choir who aim to bring together people from all different cultures and walks of life, who regaled the audience with interactive songs and dances from Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

   

We also had engaging talks from esteemed colleagues, including author John Farndon who spoke on the education sector in Zimbabwe and teacher Philip Weiss who spoke on the importance of diaspora links.

Several members of the Zimbabwean diaspora rallied together to cook a gorgeous authentic Zimbabwean meal for the occasion, including stews, sadza and caterpillars – topped off with ZET-decorated cupcakes!

Our long-term goodwill ambassador, Dumi Senda, performed a collection of his wonderful poetry, including the ever popular ‘I am an African’, and sold copies of his book at the event to raise money for ZET.

Finally, the night finished off with traditional African dancers – who absolutely raised the roof! – and a world music disco. We do hope all our guests enjoyed the event as much as we did!

ZET would like to say a big thank you to all involved for making it such a fun and memorable evening, and thank you so much to those of who you attended or donated to support our vital work advancing education in marginalised Zimbabwean communities.

If you would like to give ZET a 30th birthday present, you can donate at http://www.zimbabweeducationaltrust.org.uk/support-us

Written by Hannah O’Riordan


ZET Blog: Learning from Zimbabwe

Which country has the highest literacy rate in Africa? South Africa? Nigeria? Egypt? Well, actually none of these. According to some sources the answer is, perhaps surprisingly, Zimbabwe. Yes, Zimbabwe has a literacy rate of 92 % (or 87% according to UNESCO), which compares favourably with the USA, where more than 1 in 7 people cannot read!

In the UK, there is an image of Zimbabwe of a country in trouble. What outsiders often remember about the country, beyond the longevity of its leader Robert Mugabe – now an astonishing 93 years-old – is that it is something of an economic basket case.

An image looms large in the standard outsiders’ view of the country of the terrible time in 2008 when the economy nosedived, and Zimbabwe was sucked into the worst period of hyperinflation of any country – ever. At this time, prices in shops were changing several times a day. A simple loaf of bread cost tens of thousands of dollars and notes became so devalued that people resorted to taking huge wads of cash to market in wheelbarrows. In November 2008 inflation peaked at 79.6 billion per cent!

But to focus on the troubles of the economy – now at least partly receded – is to entirely miss the achievements of Zimbabwe’s education drive, and just what is possible. When the country became independent back in 1980, the new government was determined that education should be at the heart of their country’s goals. Mugabe’s new constitution identified education to secondary level as free and compulsory for all.

Factoid: Zimbabwe spends 8.5% of its GDP on education – that compares with 5.7% in the UK and just 4.9% in the USA (World Bank)

In the first 20 years of independence, reading rates accelerated from well under 80% under white rule to well over 90% – a remarkable achievement in any country, especially in comparison to other African nations.

Sadly, though, the education drive has faltered the wake of the economic crisis, and the dream is in danger of fading. Many schools are in physically poor condition. There are too few textbooks, and there is a severe shortage of teachers because poor pay has driven them to leave the profession.

Thanks to the drive for education, there is a yearning to learn among the young, but the school system is now letting many of them down. Many children are denied places at schools, and it may not be until well after 2030 that education becomes universal. Girls in particular have been excluded, and less than half receive secondary education.

When western commentators and development agencies look at the developing world, they tend to focus on economic resources. But education may actually the best gift for the future that the children of Zimbabwe and other developing countries can be given. Education helps give them the power to build their own futures.

As the extraordinary young Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai said, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” I, for one hope, that Zimbabwe can get that educational dream back on track and give every Zimbabwean child that chance.

Written by John Farndon, Author
Edited by Hannah O’Riordan, ZET Operations Manager

John Farndon will be speaking at our event next weekend, to celebrate Zimbabwe and 30 years of ZET. You can buy tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/zet-30th-anniversary-discover-zimbabwe-tickets-36953536021#/ 

If you would like to write for ZET Blog, please contact our Operations Manager on contact@zimbabweeducationaltrust.org.uk


ZET Blog: Government Action on the Environment

The government of Zimbabwe has recently been very aware of the need to protect the environment and minimise the severity of the carbon footprint indented by the country’s populous, and has taken various steps to enshrine environmental protections in law. Environmental reform is essential, not just in supporting national and international sustainable development plans, but also in leading to a wave of socioeconomic reforms which create an opportunity to considerably reduce poverty.

Zimbabwe underwent a constitutional reform process which allowed environmental issues to be included into the country’s supreme law. Before this reform, the constitution lacked any clear articulation on how the country was to conserve, use and share the benefits of natural resources. Now, the National Environmental Policy and Environmental Management Act have been introduced to facilitate the sustainable management of natural resources at both local and national levels.

The Environmental Management Act aims to: facilitate sustainable management of natural resources, protect the environment from pollution or degradation, and initiate future plans for the management and protection of the environment. These objectives align with the constitution, creating an environment in which future generations can enjoy their right to a clean, healthy, safe environment. This policy also creates a platform for sustainable national development, whilst reducing climate change.

The mainstreaming of biodiversity into regional, national and international development frameworks has proved complex, as it involves finding strategies to maximise the benefits of biodiversity and minimise its loss through all productive sectors – including agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism and mining.

The Wildlife Act is one of many legislations which have lobbied for and made moves towards outlawing the consumptive use of wildlife in Zimbabwe, and protecting biodiversity. There have been efforts to protect endangered elephants and rhinos for decades, indicating the massive divide in perceptions between the government and the people when it comes to the value of natural resources and wildlife in local communities. Governments need to support rural people to connect with natural resources in their area, and foster a sense of stewardship for these resources on the basis of genuine local ownership. In time, this stewardship must translate into institution-building, for a more comprehensive protection and management structure of the environment, wildlife and natural resources.

The need for a global water management review has gathered momentum since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Water sector reforms in Zimbabwean law have been initiated to respond to the increasingly complex and unsustainable current water management structure. As global momentum on this issue increases, sub-Saharan Africa has placed much emphasis on reform to watershed management, and Zimbabwe is no exception. The government have now classified the environment as a legitimate ‘user’ of water supplies in Zimbabwe. This has led to protections on the environment’s water supply – tackling pollution and providing populations with clean and safe water, which has clear and immediate benefits for population health and also benefits agricultural activities.

It seems the government is beginning to take clear and tangible steps towards sustainable development, environmental protection and natural resource management – with immediate and long-term benefits to citizens and to the environment. Of course, more work is needed both from this government and from international actors.

Written by Kudakwashe Kutesera (Foundations for Farming)
Edited by Hannah O’Riordan (Operations Manager – Zimbabwe Educational Trust)

If you would like to write for ZET Blog, please contact Hannah O’Riordan at contact@zimbabweeducationaltrust.org.uk


ZET Blog: Girl Child Economic Empowerment

Many major obstacles to economic empowerment in the developing world originate from the lack of formal education, patriarchy systems that prioritize the boy child over the girl child, and the devastating effects of HIV & AIDS. The AIDS pandemic has left many households child-headed, with the girl child shouldering most of the work – leaving little opportunity for education or for a girl to choose her own future. The major effect of the patriarchal system in most developing societies is that most parents believe it is not necessary to enroll girls in formal education. This stems from the belief that a girl child’s destiny is marriage – therefore sending her to school is an unnecessary “waste of resources”. Although the government and other organizations have tried to raise awareness on the importance of sending ALL children to school, the enrollment of the girl child remains very low in the most marginalized communities of Zimbabwe. From a very tender age, the girl child is raised to be a mother, to take care of the home and concentrate on household chores.

If, for example, one parent is taken ill, the girl child is expected to miss school to take care of the sick parent. The same is not expected from the boy child. This scenario disadvantages the girl child, who misses school until the parent is better, so then when children are assessed at the end of an academic period, the girls’ grades understandably drop and boys will perform significantly better. Another issue is the lack of proper sanitary ware, for the same reason. Girls are forced to miss school for the duration of their monthly period, and the ultimate result is poorer academic grades. The social environment and harsh conditions under which girls learn makes it difficult for them to succeed academically.

Rafiki Girls Centre was established in 2002 to respond to the challenges young women face which have disadvantaged them from the outset, often leaving them orphaned and vulnerable. Economic empowerment is our main focus. The girls specialize in one of the following courses: hotel & catering, nurse aid (health care assistance) training, cutting & designing, pre-school teacher training, interior design and cosmetology. However, we believe in a holistic approach to a human being’s personal development, hence the inclusion of other life skills such as basic cookery & sewing, grooming & etiquette, First Aid, and lessons in HIV & AIDS. In order to achieve these aims, we run special events to develop these women holistically – such as Careers Days and HIV/AIDS Awareness Workshops.

 

            

Careers Day enlightens students about the many opportunities open to them, including teaching, nursing, health and beauty, hospitality and more. The event addresses negative attitudes held towards certain careers, and encourages the students to be successful in whichever field they choose. This is possible, they learn, as long as they follow their passion and work hard. We often see women who come to Rafiki as timid and apprehensive, leave as confident, competent young women.

The HIV/AIDS Awareness Workshop provides a safe space to share knowledge, provide accurate information, and for people living with a positive status to share their experiences. Following these sessions, our students feel empowered to make wiser choses, negotiate safer sexual practices, and volunteer for HIV testing and corresponding counselling and support.

Rafiki’s aim is to empower girls with the skills needed to alleviate poverty in their homes and the communities where they live. We hope that this training opens opportunities for them, and these girls gain a second chance to enter into education or employment should they so wish. We also hope that by training women to be self-sufficient and confident, they will be less vulnerable to situations which may expose them to HIV or unsafe sex. So far, Rafiki has supported over 700 young women, 85% of which have gone onto further education or employment, and we hope to continue training and tackling gender inequality in the future.

Written by Hildah Mahachi (Director at Rafiki Girls Centre)
Edited by Hannah O’Riordan (Operations Manager at Zimbabwe Educational Trust)

 

If you would like to write for our blog, please contact Hannah O’Riordan on contact@zimbabweeducationaltrust.org.uk


Rafiki Girls Centre – Beattah’s Success Story

We start by thanking all of you who contributed to Burj’s ultra-marathon which raised £281 for Rafiki Girls Centre. Of course thank you to Burj for completing his epic 36 miles for Rafiki.

Beattah’s success story

Beatrice also known as “Beattah” grew up in Epworth one of the poorest community in Harare. Beattah has three sisters and one brother, and they lived in a three roomed house. Beattah’s father died in 2005 leaving her mother to be the bread winner. Beattah was unable to carry on her schooling, due to lack of funds for school fees. Beattah’s dream is to be an Air Hostess.

In 2006 at the age of 18 years old, Beattah was accepted at Rafiki and successfully completed her 6 months training, including a Beauty therapy course at People’s College. After training Beattah worked at a clinic as a receptionist. Using subjects Beattah had learned at Rafiki, Computers and Business Communication, she applied to do a course in Business Administration with London Chamber of Commerce International Board. Beattah received a Diploma in Business Administration. Beattah later advanced herself in computer skills and did a course in International Council Driver’s License.

Beattah looked for employment but did not get a job.

Beattah decided to pursue her dream. In 2012 Beattah saw an advert in the newspaper which was inviting applications from those who wanted to work as airhostesses or ticketing. Beattah applied to train as an Air hostess with Central Air Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe. When Beattah was finally called for training in 2013 she had no money to pay fees. Rafiki launched a successful appeal to cover her $750 fees. Beattah completed her air hostess training, but did not get a job immediately. So Beattah went to work at a housing estate agent.

Beattah then saw an advert on line from South Africa to study as air hostess. She saved up and redid the air hostess training to give her an advantage to find a job in South Africa. In June 2015 Beattah successfully completed training and was given the license to work as an air hostess. Beattah has since been appointed to work with Ethiopian Airlines starting August 2015.

Beattah’s dream has finally come true at 27 years of age! Beattah’s perseverance and tenacity has certainly motivated other girls.

Thank you for your support to Rafiki – please continue to give generously to help other women like Beattah to realise their dreams.Burj ultra marathon