By Shingirai Vambe
Harare- UNICEF Country Representative, Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, yesterday signed and received US $5.8 million dollar pledge from the Swedish Embassy towards child protection in Zimbabwe.
The ceremony was graced by the Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mavhima, represented by Tawanda Zimunya.
The funding will be used primarily in marginalised places towards the disadvantaged and those with disabilities in areas such as Binga, Chiredzi, Bulilima, Buhera, Zvishavane, Mbire, Epworth, Beitbridge, Mutasa and Bulawayo districts.
The disbursement is based on key deprivation factors such as urban, rural, and peri-urban locations, poorest and vulnerable districts, districts prone to climate shocks and remote districts.
“The 60 million kronor we are signing for today is going to support the Zimbabwe Child Protection programme III which will cover a wide range violence, abuse and neglect of children, child of child protection from marriage, teenage pregnancies, child trafficking, sexual violence and sexual exploitation of children, child poverty, children in contact/conflict with the law, and birth registration,”said Swedish Ambassador, Ms Asa Pehrson.
She told the Post On Sunday that UNICEF will oversee on the fund and programmes that will benefit Zimbabwe vulnerable children.
“Sweden believes that an efficient protection is essential to children’s well-being because as vulnerable people they are more exposed to issues of mistreatment, exploitation, discrimination and violence,” added Pehrson.
Between 2018 and 2022, a significant number of children dropped out of school, due Cyclone Idai, covid-19 and continuous economic challenges in Zimbabwe. Girls resorted to early marriages while boys crossed the border to neighbouring countries while other engaged into drugs.
Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale told this publication that part of the money is going to held the girl child wanting to go back to school, prepare them by equipping councillors as well as provide for their upkeep together with the child while a particular focus will be put of the deaf and the dump.
Oyawale said these specific people needed more in terms of communication and need for their wellbeing.
adding to that, Amb Pehrson said Sweden holds that whatever the circumstances, all children should enjoy the right to family life and they have the right to grow up in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.
“As enshrined in the Zimbabwe Constitution, the right to food, water, shelter and education for children cannot be over emphasised, we don’t have any specific area or monitoring of activities and use of the fund, that is why we have decided to work UNICEF,” said Pehrson.
Mr Mavhima said the support rendered will go a long way in improving the wellbeing of children, particularly those who are marginalised and vulnerable.
“On behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, and on my own behalf, would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all the people of Sweden for the continued financial support, over the years towards strengthening Government social and child protection systems for the attainment of social development,” said Mavhima.
He however ended his speech by pointing out the need for the government of Zimbabwe to prioritise constant review of the legislation, programmes and policies.