Bulawayo residents have challenged two government ministries to make public names of Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) beneficiaries, saying the programme meant to benefit vulnerable children, has been politicised.
In a statement, Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo said residents felt BEAM had failed to assist disadvantaged children like orphans and called on the ministries of Education and Social Welfare to publicise beneficiaries.
“In Bulawayo for instance, according to the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, in a presentation to a European Union Delegation in early February 2012 there are 27 000 orphaned and vulnerable children, with only
10 000 benefiting from BEAM.
“In Matabeleland South, there are 70 000 orphaned and vulnerable children with 40 000 benefiting from BEAM while in Matabeleland North there are 72 000 vulnerable and orphaned children, with a mere 5 000 children getting assistance.
“It is clear, therefore, that the government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, should take more measures to afford basic education to vulnerable children,” he said.
Fayayo said it is important that the two ministries publish the names, addresses and provinces of beneficiaries of BEAM to ensure transparency in the selection of beneficiaries for the programme.
“The government should ensure that all the country’s 10 provinces benefit from BEAM in an equitable manner based on the level of need for assistance. This would ensure regions that are normally marginalised such as Matabeleland North and South and Bulawayo adequately benefit from BEAM.
“The government should make known its current criterion and method for selecting beneficiaries of the fund. The scarcity of information on this leaves room for political cronyism and corruption in the selection of beneficiaries,” he said.