UNITED Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), in partnership with the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), yesterday unveiled 3 000 bicycles to benefit marginalised children as part of efforts to safeguard them and improve learning outcomes in rural areas.
BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE / FARAI MATIASHE
The bicycles, acquired from World Bicycle Relief with funding from UKAid, were handed over to the Zimbabwe Girls Secondary Education programme (ZGSE), which is being implemented through Camfed in 165 schools located in 29 districts.
Many beneficiaries cover 15km to school and in the past were forced to live away from their homes to get education, often unsupervised and thus increasing their vulnerability to child marriage, sexual abuse and child labour.
Speaking at the launch, head of DFID Zimbabwe and South-Africa, Annabel Gerry, said the initiative would improve the safety of learners in marginalised areas.
“When we jointly looked at how we were safeguarding the girls that we support, the issue of long distances walked by learners to and from school arose, and girls and boys engaging in the risky practice of unsafe boarding were identified. These girls and boys lived too far away from school to be able to go home every night,” she said.
“At DFID Zimbabwe, together with our partners, we wanted to come up with a solution. By improving the safety of these learners, we also expect to improve learning outcomes, with girls better able to focus on their work and more likely to regularly attend classes. Access to a good quality education and learning opportunities will empower these girls to secure a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”
Camfed Zimbabwe director Faith Nkala said the bicycles safeguarded children and supported their learning.
To date, the programme has supported over 40 300 girls and 900 boys in 1 046 partner schools from the most disadvantaged communities in 29 rural districts in Zimbabwe to attend and succeed in secondary school.