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ZET BLOG: Izzy’s Internship Experience

My Internship Experience, Summer 2019

In three words: Fun, flexible, rewarding!

I first started volunteering with Zimbabwe Educational Trust in my second year of uni. As an International Development student, the objectives of the organisation aligned perfectly with my interests, studies, and passion to make a positive difference. I began working on developing a database containing information of potential trusts that might fund ZET’s activities, and I also helped to write our quarterly reports for Global Giving, one of our main fundraising platforms. It was during this period that I began to learn more and more about ZET’s partner projects. I became inspired by both the work that takes place on the ground in Zimbabwe, and the dedication of ZET staff and volunteers here in Leeds to make the ground work possible. Not only this, but I saw the potential difference my contribution as a volunteer could have to the organisation and their beneficiaries. So, I chose to dedicate three weeks during Summer working full time for ZET as an intern…! Here’s what I got up to!

Tasks and Responsibilities:

  1. Research for and analysis of grant making trusts viable for ZET funding: Entered potential funders into a database to record essential criteria and contact information via MS excel.
  2. Development of grant proposals for funding applications: Drafted funding applications detailing partners’ ground work, case studies and budgetary information.
  3. Management of social media platforms: Provided up-to-date content and media on Facebook and Twitter. Worked to increase our base and expand our social media audience. Advertised volunteer opportunities via socials.
  4. Updating and expanding fundraising platforms: Completed Global Giving rewards exercises to improve our position in their rankings. Promoted our links to Give as You Live. Set up ZET on new fundraising platforms, e.g. Givey.
  5. Correspondence with third parties via email and telephone: Managed email account and made numerous fundraising enquiries over the telephone.
  6. ICT: Updated website content. Drafted new volunteer opportunities information. Advertised new volunteer opportunities by different means including various university portals, ZET website and volunteer matching sites.

Personal benefits & most enjoyable aspects

  1. Internship tailored to my interests: At ZET I was lucky enough to have a huge say in the work that I did. Before starting, my Operations Manager made sure he understood what I wanted to get out of the internship. he then translated this into tasks relevant and useful to both me and the organisation. This meant that I never found my work boring!
  2. Big responsibilities, big impact: Interning at ZET was a unique experience because I was given the responsibility to work on tasks that had a considerable impact. Unlike working at a larger organisation, I was not limited to mundane administrative tasks. I got right to the heart of ZET. I was actively involved in numerous aspects of running a non-profit organisation. Thus, I knew my efforts were worthwhile and I was made to feel as though they were appreciated. Not only was I able to gain practical work experience that will be relevant to my future career, but I can be proud that my work has made a genuine difference to the organisation.
  3. Flexibility: As an intern at ZET, I was afforded a great deal of flexibility. I was given the choice to work in the office, university library, and even from home. In the end I chose to do a combination of the three. This degree of flexibility is rare, and one of the things that makes working for ZET special.
  4. Fantastic oversight by Operations Manager: One thing that made my internship particularly enjoyable was the amicable relationship that I developed with my Operations Manager. As well as engaging in structured discussions about what needed to be done and by when, we had conversations about Zimbabwe, current affairs, informal chats and some banter. On top of this, I was provided with 10/10 support; any questions or uncertainties I had were met with patience and a willingness to help. This created a positive environment and made it a pleasure to work alongside my Operations Manager.

Finally…I would recommend this experience to anybody!

Regardless of what you are studying I would recommend taking on an internship with ZET. I believe the skills and experience that I have taken away are invaluable for any young person and, importantly, transferable across disciplines. Moreover, because an internship with ZET is tailored to your interests, you will be able to choose tasks appropriate to your needs and develop the skills that you think will benefit you. An internship at ZET is suitable to anybody with the desire to make a positive change, and to those who are looking to gain professional experience in a fun, flexible and rewarding way!

Any questions? Email me!

If you have any questions about how to make this possible for you, or would like me to go into further detail about my experience as an intern, feel free to get in touch with me via email at: contact@zimbabweeducationaltrust.org.uk


Laws On Birth Registration In Zimbabwe

“For children to count, they have to be counted.” Harry Belafonte

This quote highlights the importance of birth registration particularly on the right to a sound education. Birth registration is the process by which a child’s birth is recorded in the civil register by the applicable government authority. It provides the first legal recognition of the child and is generally required for the child to obtain a birth certificate. Unfortunately, many African countries fail to adhere consistently this process.

In Zimbabwe achieving universal birth registration remains a difficult task. Progress towards universal birth registration in Zimbabwe is slow and the gap between promise and achievement remains wide. According to UNICEF (2015), only 31 per cent of children are registered before the 5th birthday. Nevertheless, the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency provides a less conservative estimate suggesting that 38 per cent of children are registered within the first 59 months after birth (ZimStats, 2015). Still, even after the 5th birthday, birth registration success remains undesirably low (Save the Children et al., 2011)
This may affect a child’s right to basic education, especially as birth certificate acknowledges the existence of a child and absence of this may slow down the school enrolment process. Without valid proof of age, children are unable to register for the exams that allow them to continue onto secondary education.

However, there are laws establishing these rights. For instance, Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states that, ‘The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name and the right to acquire a nationality’. This convention imposes a duty on states parties to register the birth of every child.
In the same vein, Article 24 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the General Assembly adopted in 1966, provides that ‘every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name’.

Despite the fact that there are laws (both international and national) in place to address this problem, achieving birth registration still remains a tall order in Zimbabwe. This is due, in part, to lack of awareness/education of the parents of the existing laws on birth registration. Especially as residents in rural areas have little or no information that there are sanctions in place for non-compliance with birth registration.

An empirical study was carried out in Zimbabwe to ascertain why this issue persist and it was realised that most participants were unaware that it is legally required to have a birth certificate or sanctions involved for non-compliance. Although participants were aware of the procedures to follow when applying for a birth certificate, they were not sufficiently apprised of the compulsory requirement of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 5:02 to give notice of a live birth of a child within the first 42 days.

Awareness of this legislation coupled with visible and clear sanctions may encourage increase in birth registration. This is because the law is seen as a viable tool to control human behaviour if properly enforced. Could this show a way forward?

Birth registration has been framed as child’s rights and a mechanism through which children access human rights. Therefore, laws on birth registration in Zimbabwe needs to be properly promoted and pressure exerted where none exist. Birth registration is very crucial in every facet of life, it establishes the identity of an individual. Without identity a person does not exist, at least on paper, and this is no small barrier. As the World Bank observes, the possession of a birth certificate represents a ‘permanent, legal and visible recognition by the state of a child’s existence as a member of society.

Guest Blogger: Ibukunoluwa Iyiola-Omisore


Hannah O’Riordan Site Visit 2019 Blog

I was lucky enough to visit Zimbabwe for the second time at the end of 2019, to visit our partners and see some of the amazing work they are doing to support young people in their communities.

After twenty-seven hours and several airport lounges, our leadership team touched down in Bulawayo and drove back through the beautiful surroundings to get started.

When I first visited Zimbabwe eighteen months before, the country had erupted with hope for the future and all our partners had big plans. It was fantastic to be back and see these plans in action and to get to meet some of the young women and men that ZET has been supporting, which kicked off with our visit to Trinity Project.

Trinity Project is a Bulawayo-based organisation which champions child rights and child protection, best known for its ground-breaking work on birth registration locally and nationally. Our trip began working on upcoming fundraising, project management and other administration. We were able to find out about their successes, such as lobbying the First Lady on birth registration and passing a parliamentary motion.

The Kids Club

After struggling through power cuts and lack of water and electricity for the first couple of days in the office, we spent the rest of our time in Bulawayo out in the field meeting local communities. We visited some girlchild empowerment organisations, called ‘kids clubs’, where we heard first-hand the impact Trinity had in teaching these young girls and women about their rights and transforming their circumstances.

No one exemplified this better than Brenda, a teenage girl who was kind enough to share her story. Brenda was born HIV+, due to her single mother’s positive status. She grew up very poor, unable to go to school or afford proper medication. She resented her mother for her situation and ran away from home when she was very young. Life on the streets was tough and left her vulnerable, so fearing for her safety she returned home. This is when she was introduced to the Trinity Project Kids Clubs. She began to attend these and was taught various sports, games and arts and crafts to participate in.

Brenda outside her home

This became her lifeline – she had other children to socialise with who understood, an incredible support-network of adults around her to counsel her, and new creative outlets. Brenda now writes beautiful and impactful poetry, which we were lucky enough to hear her perform. Brenda is an inspiring person, but she represents dozens of young people who Trinity has empowered in this way, and it was a privilege to meet these young girls and boys, learn from them, and continue to support them.

The next stop on our visit was Rafiki Girls Centre, an education and vocational training centre for vulnerable young women in Harare. This visit began with working through the project management and logistics of our ongoing project funded with UK aid from the British people, and it was wonderful to hear that this year’s programme was going well and the rapid expansion of students had been a success.

During our time at the centre, we met many students during various classes. The director, Hildah, has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of her students past and present; their backgrounds, their work, and what they went on to do; so it has always been so inspiring to hear what a life-changing difference the centre makes in the lives of these women, and it was a blessing to get to see this first-hand.

We saw students working on their new UK Aid Direct funded laptops and sewing machines and were treated to a delicious three-course lunch from the hotel and catering students. I was gifted a gorgeous kitchen set from the design students, which now sits proudly next to the wall-hanging I was given at my last visit, back here in the UK.

We also travelled round Harare in torrential rain to see students at their vocational trainings, including tutorials at a hair salon and Nurse Aid students learning CPR at a Red Cross centre. The young women on this course are a testament to the project – Rafiki provides first-class training to its students and is vital in boosting their confidence, social skills and employability; forging a lifeline for marginalised young women in Zimbabwe.

I flew home alone as the rest of our team travelled onto our final wonderful partner, Foundations for farming, and was able to reflect on our visit. It feels like the start of an exciting new period for ZET and our partners, with a new leadership team in place at home, stronger than ever organisations in Zimbabwe, and fantastic plans for the next couple of years. All of our partners are doing incredible work supporting the most vulnerable in society and have a transformational effect on those they reach. We have strong projects in place to champion our existing work and are expanding into new areas – I really look forward to seeing what we can do next.

Hannah O’Riordan

ZET Trustee


Rafiki: Go-ahead from DFID and the Jo Cox Memorial Fund

Rafiki Girls have always been incredible at what they do and now this project will be funded with UK aid from the UK government. Utilising funds from the Jo Cox Memorial we’re delighted that between 2019-2022 we will be supporting 240 girls (including 40 single mums) to break the cycle of deprivation which has so negatively impacted their lives so far.

ZET staff meet the first intake of students

With their amazing programme of confidence building, life skills and personal independence the first three months will see the girls come together as a group and start to change the way they see themselves and their life opportunities.

In the months that follow the girls go on to specialise in areas such as Pre-School, Nurse Aid, Hotel & Catering and more. This specialist training is combined with a work placement to ensure that by the time they are finished they’re ready to enter the workplace.

From here it’s just a short hop to understand how an empowered woman, with skills and earning potential can change her own life and contribute to the lives of those around her.

The proof is evidenced as 85% of graduates go on to employment or further training within 6 months of graduating. Way ahead of the national average.

The Event Decor class show their work

This inspiring work is the reason Rafiki and ZET have partnered for so many years.


Zet Blog: Rafiki Site Visit November 2019

If you are a girl born in Zimbabwe, the opportunities available to you in life can be very limited. Faced with a long history of gender inequality grounded in cultural and religious attitudes, boy children are given preferential treatment over girl children in terms of education. Girls comprise just 35% of the pupils in secondary education. This barrier to education, coupled with hostile economic conditions and a high unemployment rate results in girls often being ill-equipped to enter the workforce. Young girls in Zimbabwe are vulnerable to a host of challenges in securing themselves a bright and happy future. Our partners at the Rafiki Girls Centre aim to provide girls with a way out of poverty, empowering the most disadvantaged young women to take their futures into their own hands. 

Providing specialist training in a range of career paths, Rafiki opens up a world of opportunities to young girls. From interior design to pre-school teaching, girls who apply to Rafiki can explore their potential through a series of courses designed to equip and empower them with the skills they need to advance in life. During the site visit in November 2019, our Chairman/co-founder Derrick, Operations Manager Andy and Trustee Hannah were able to see these courses in action, experiencing first-hand the ways in which Rafiki is improving the lives of young girls in Zimbabwe. 

Derrick, Andy and Hannah had the privilege of observing a whole range of classes, which gave them an insight into the quality and standards of teaching provided by the amazing staff at Rafiki. They got their hair done at a cosmetology class, brushed up on their anatomy in Nurses’ Aid training, and even enjoyed a hotel-standard meal prepared by the Hotel and Catering students in the centre.  

The purpose of the visit was to strengthen our relationship with our partners, as well as placing on-going scrutiny on their practices. By challenging existing safeguarding standards and monitoring everything from applications to teaching to book-keeping, ZET made sure that every part of Rafiki’s processes were up to scratch, in order to deliver the best experience possible to the girls. Perhaps the most important part of the visit was ensuring the sustainability of the project, through thorough analysis and evaluation of its effectiveness and impact. Finally, the site visit presented us with an opportunity to learn, enabling us to plan for the years ahead.

 


ZET Blog: Child Marriage and the Girls Summit

Please note, this articularly originally appeared on the DFID website, and was written by Lakshmi Sundaram, the director of Girls Not Brides.

Working on a taboo subject can be isolating and demoralising and, as evidenced by the experience of some Girls Not Brides members focused on ending child marriage within their communities, even life-threatening. Until a few years ago, child marriage was such a taboo: it was definitely not considered to be a suitable topic for international summits, hosted by Prime Ministers and heads of UN agencies!

2014’s Girl Summit showed us just how far we have come, in a very short time. By focusing on child marriage, the Summit brought global attention to this once ignored issue, which can have a devastating impact on the lives of girls.

We know that child marriage has already hindered the achievement of six of the eight Millennium Development Goals and continues to trap 15 million girls a year in a cycle of poverty, ill health and inequality. Tackling child marriage has been identified as a smart investment, which is likely to lead to “improved educational attainment, higher earnings and greater health-seeking behaviour”. This is a target which not only empowers girls and women, but the knock-on effects would mean we stand a better chance of achieving other important development goals.

The Girl Summit highlighted the growing global commitment to child marriage, bringing together government ministers, community leaders, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Importantly, the Summit saw a high level of participation from many of the countries most affected by child marriage.

The message from Girls Not Brides members attending the Girl Summit – and those following it from afar – was clear: political leaders need to back up their words and commitments with long-term funding and comprehensive, integrated strategies and programmes.

But has anything changed since the Summit?

Have we made progress?

There are certainly successes that we can celebrate: the Human Rights Council unanimously adopted a resolution recognising child marriage as a violation of human rights, which was co-sponsored by more than 85 countries from every region of the world.

At the regional level, both the African Union and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation have taken on the issue. Several countries are making progress in developing their own strategies to end child marriage. And, all over the world, we continue to see brave individuals and civil society organisations taking a stand against child marriage and working tirelessly to support the girls affected.

But there is still so much to do. At Girls Not Brideswe would like to mark this anniversary by renewing our call to political leaders to create a lasting legacy of the Girl Summit, and continue to turn your words into actions. You can start by ensuring that the proposed target on ending child, early and forced marriage is included in the final Sustainable Development Goal framework, to be adopted in September.

Of course, a target on paper by itself will not change the lives of girls. Change will only happen when governments make ending child marriage a political priority, when they work with civil society to develop and implement comprehensive, cross-sectoral national action plans, and when these plans are fully resourced. Change will only happen if we measure progress effectively, and are willing to learn from our mistakes and adapt course if needed. Change will only happen if we continue to remember that we are ultimately accountable to the girls whose very lives are at stake.

Those who work on child marriage know that this is a complex issue that will not be ‘solved’ within a tidy 12-month period.

But we also know that if we can collectively harness the growing global momentum on ending child marriage – and follow through on all of our pledges and commitments – we can make ending child married within a generation a shared reality, not just an aspiration.

Original article: https://dfid.blog.gov.uk/2015/07/22/one-year-on-from-the-girl-summit-are-we-any-closer-to-ending-child-marriage/

Written by Lakshmi Sundaram, Girls Not Brides

Edited by Hannah O’Riordan, Zimbabwe Educational Trust


ZET Blog: Zimbabwe Election Predictions

Please note: this article was originally written by Kurt Davis Jr, an investment banker working in economies across Africa, for the website Moguldom. The sharing of this article is not an endorsement of his views or a comment on the political situation in Zimbabwe.

The peaceful military coup on the evening of Nov. 14, 2017 culminated in the resignation of President Robert Mugabe on Nov. 21 and the installation of ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa, a longtime ally of Mugabe, was sacked by Mugabe reportedly at the favor of Grace Mugabe, wife of Robert, who had expressed interest in taking up the position.

The removal of President Mugabe effectively eliminates the potential presidential rise of Grace Mugabe, consequently opening the door in 2018 for Mnangagwa, also a member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZAN-PF) party.

All that said, the removal of the Mugabes from the presidential palace after nearly 20 years opens the door for speculation on potential contestants for the higher office.

The main opposition will come from the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T), led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai has been the key opposition figure against Mugabe, contesting in the 2002 presidential election (which Mugabe won with 56 percent) and the 2008 presidential election (which Mugabe won with 86 percent in the runoff).

Although the Organisation of African Unity concluded that the 2002 elections were “transparent, credible, free and fair”, the Commonwealth of Nations, Western governments, and Norwegian observers challenged that assessment with the Commonwealth of Nations also suspending Zimbabwe for a year.

The 2008 elections began with Tsvangirai winning about 48 percent in the first round to Mugabe’s 43 percent, but Tsvangirai dropped out before the 2nd round, blaming widespread violence and risks to voters as the primary reasons that the runoff would be a “sham.”

Having served as prime minister nevertheless from 2009 to 2013 after the 2008 election, Tsvangirai’s political craftiness should not be underestimated. The main deterring factor may be his health and his ability to overcome colon cancer. Much speculation suggests that he will sit out the 2018 election which would essentially hamstring the MDC-T party.

Beyond ZANU-PF and MDC-T, there is Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (now the National Alliance for Democracy) led by Simba Makoni, a former minister of finance and economic development in Mugabe’s cabinet from 2000 to 2002.

His history with Mugabe is as colorful and contentious as Tsvangirai. Maybe Makoni runs in 2018. Or academic Ibbo Mandaza may run, but he will have to overcome a poor track record as editor-in-chief of the defunct publication, “The Sunday Mirror”.

Jonathan Moyo, former minister of higher education (2015-2017) and former minister of information (2000-2005, 2013-2015), will be lurking after being expelled from the government and the ZANU-PF…he left the party in 2005 and returned in 2011 (so not unfamiliar ground to be on the outside).

Who will win? Zimbabweans win if the election still happens in 2018. If the election happens, transitional President Mnangagwa likely wins with Tsvangirai likely not representing MDC-T due to health (or not having the full energy to launch an energetic campaign).

The remaining opposition has a lot of question marks. But you can expect someone (after the dust settles) to launch a serious campaign to at least force a public discussion on economic growth, jobs, and the future of Zimbabwe (Zimbabweans are excited for a conversation on the future of the country).

You can see the original article at: https://moguldom.com/141483/top-election-predictions-for-africa-in-2018/

Written by: Kurt Davis Junior
Edited by: Hannah O’Riordan, ZET Operations Manager

 


ZET Blog: UNICEF Zimbabwe Education Plans

Zimbabwe’s education system, once arguably the best on the continent, has been deteriorating over the past 10 years and has been seriously affected by the declining financial assistance to the sector. In the absence of significant national government financing, which is a result of massive hyperinflation, economic restrictive constraints, and political instability, a complex system of fees, levies and ‘incentives’ has evolved that has significantly disadvantaged the poorest. Further, some thirty two per cent of learners no longer continue their school beyond grade seven. This consistent decline in public expenditures on non-salary costs has had a significant impact on school and learning supervision, availability of information for planning and policy and the relations of school governance, which has in turn led to a significant decline in the quality of school environments, the relevance of the education system and the placement of skilled teaching personnel.

In response to the challenges in the education sector, the Education Transition Fund (ETF) was launched in September 2009 by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture (MoESAC), and was aimed at improving the quality of education for children through the provision of essential teaching and learning materials for primary schools, and high level technical assistance to MoESAC.

The ETF, in addition to assuring consistency in funding levels during the transition period, has found that a pooled fund mechanism has helped to increase alignment with Government priorities, promoting ownership, coordination and reducing fragmentation. As such, despite the fragile nature of the recovering education sector, new opportunities exist providing a ripe environment for the rapid consolidation and improvement of the education system.
improving.

As the education sector transitions into a phase of long term recovery, the overall goal of the second phase of the ETF will be to support the continued revitalization of the education sector by assisting the Government of Zimbabwe to realize its objectives of achieving universal and equitable access to quality and relevant basic education for all Zimbabwean children. ETF II is outlined in three key thematic areas which are guided by MoESAC’s Strategic Investment Plan (2011). These areas are outlined below:
The first phase of ETF focused on the emergency revitalisation of the education sector, and on the distribution of essential school stationery and core textbooks for primary and secondary schools. However, the transitionary nature of the second phase of ETF will see the programme, under the direction of MoESAC, and in line with its Strategic Plan, focus more on the systems and structures that provide education, in turn building the capacity of MoESAC, including Zimbabwe’s teachers to deliver quality and relevant education for all. The programme will focus on investing resources at the school level across the country through the development of a block grants initiative with the aim of reducing user fee costs for all learners. These grants will allow schools to reconstruct WASH facilities, repair school infrastructure (including teacher houses), purchase essential teaching and learning materials and procure teacher and student furniture, allowing for rapid scale up if future funding permits.

The second phase of the ETF will support the following key activities:

● The finalisation of a national sector planning framework for education, with corresponding provincial and district level plans, directed by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture;
● The development of a national school grants initiative, delivering critical investment (including WASH) at school level, to assist in the reduction of financial barriers to education for both boys and girls;
● In-service training of at least 100,000 teachers in modern pedagogical and subject based skills, with a focus on improving the basic teaching skills of at least 10,000 unqualified teachers;
● Training of at least 300 key Ministry personnel at the national, provincial and district level, as well as some 8,000 school heads to strengthen their system management capacities related to planning, implementation, supervision and monitoring, linked to priorities outlined in the emerging 5 Year Strategic Plan;
● The development of a fully revised, modern, market oriented and culturally appropriate curriculum framework, with corresponding tested syllabi for all ECD, primary and secondary levels;
● Development of a second chance education

 


ZET Blog: A History of Rafiki Girls Centre

Rafiki means friend in Swahili, and that’s exactly what Rafiki Girls Centre is. A friend to disadvantaged girls, offering empowerment and opportunity through education and training. Throughout Zimabwe’s history, the girlchild has been the most vulnerable – under pressure to take on the majority of domestic work and care, often forced into child marriage, pregnancy or labour, and excluded from education.

Due to the economic troubles of the last twenty years, their situation has exacerbated – with girls often dropping out of school, engaging in risky sexual and employment practices, and exposing themselves to HIV and other disease.

Rafiki stood as a friend for these girls, offering support and education that they could use to build and change their lives. Today we have more than 600 graduates, with 85% going onto access further education or training.

 

For example, Rafiki was a friend to Tinotenda. When she joined the centre, she was a struggling orphan who could not afford her HIV medication. Now she has started her own business to fund her studies.

 

Rafiki was a friend to Michelle, who used her nursing training at Rafiki to go on and qualify as an ambulance driver and paramedic for Harare Hospital.

 

 

It is unclear what the future holds for Zimbabwe, with elections coming up and the economy remaining turbulent. It is clear though, that girls are all too often left behind in development, and for as long as it is needed, Rafiki will be there to be a friend to girls in need.


ZET Blog: Child Abuse and Child Protection in Zimbabwe

Our longest-standing partner, Trinity Project, has recently expanded their work to focus on all aspects of child rights and child protection, beyond just access to legal identity documents. This involves a number of new exciting projects aimed at: improving and increasing children’s services and programmes in Zimbabwe; improving children and their families’ awareness of children’s rights and needs; and supporting children through individual legal, practical or emotional challenges.

This change arose from project officers seeing the need on the ground and being compelled to do more to support children in need. Common challenges for children included a lack of access to healthcare, education or social services – leaving them vulnerable to disease, abuse, malnutrition and often unable to complete education, raise an income or escape the traps of poverty.

A recent study, funded by UNICEF and run by the University of Edinburgh, looked into the prevalence of child abuse in Zimbabwe. The study (Fry, 2016), found that physical, emotional and sexual abuse were extremely common among young people in Zimbabwe and recommended that child protection was put at the forefront of government policy and civil society priorities. Some of the findings are listed below:

• “Physical violence is the most common type of violence experienced during childhood among respondents aged 18-24. About two thirds of females and three quarters of males had experienced physical violence by a parent or adult relative before the age of 18 (63.9 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively). Respondents also reported experiencing different forms of emotional violence as children. A total of 12.6 per cent of females and 26.4 per cent of males had been humiliated in front of others before the age of 18, and 17.3 per cent of females and 17.5 per cent of males had been made to feel unwanted” (Fry, 2016)

• “Sexual violence during childhood was more common among girls than among boys. One in five girls aged 18-24 had experienced unwanted sexual touching before the age of 18 (20.2 per cent) compared to 5.6 per cent of boys. A total of 15 per cent of girls had experienced attempted sex (3.8 per cent for boys), 9 per cent experienced physically forced sex (0.4 per cent for boys) and 7.4 per cent had experienced pressured sex (1.4 per cent for boys)” (Fry, 2016)

• “After controlling for age and socio-economic status in the regression models, the significant risk factors for experiencing violence varied for boys and girls depending on the type of abuse they experienced. One risk factor that was common for both boys and girls across all types of violence was having early childhood experiences (before the age of 13 years old) of abuse, thus highlighting the importance of early intervention” (Fry, 2016)

• “There are very few national studies on emotional, sexual or physical violence against children in sub-Saharan Africa, and there are no empirical studies published in Zimbabwe on emotional violence. Nurturing environments that foster successful development are critical to children’s well-being. Understanding what creates negative interactions within the peer or family context is essential for violence prevention. This secondary analysis provides, for the first time, comparable national population-based estimates that describe the nature and magnitude of violence against children in Zimbabwe” (Fry, 2016)

• “All forms of violence against children place a significant burden on children and young adult’s health and well-being. Emotional abuse is associated with increased suicide attempts for both boys and girls, and sexual violence was associated with reported lifetime experiences of suicide ideation, unwanted pregnancy and alcohol use among both girls and boys and smoking among boys, and other health outcomes” (Fry, 2016)

Unsurprisingly, the study concluded that increased levels of early abuse would hamper a child’s development, causing them mental and emotional harm and often leading them to display unusual behaviours in adulthood – either replicating abusive behaviours or exhibiting deviant beliefs and behaviours towards themselves and others.

Trinity Project now works to provide emotional and practical support for children through weekly workshops, teaching them about child abuse, their rights, and how to get help. It also works directly with parents and communities about types of abuse, how to recognise abuse, and the importance of not practicing abusive behaviours.
By creating early warning systems, safe spaces and awareness, Trinity helps the children of Bulawayo and Matabeleland to identify and protect against child abuse and other child protection issues. This makes us a pioneer of UNICEF’s recommended best practice in Zimbabwe, mainstreaming child protection as a means to empower and support children.

Written by Hannah O’Riordan, ZET Operations Manager