Govt admits failure on child protection

Paul Mavima

GOVERNMENT has admitted that budgetary allocations for child protection programmes were inadequate, resulting in Zimbabwe heavily depending on donor support.

The country is currently facing widespread violence against children, with two-thirds of girls and three-quarters of boys reportedly experiencing physical violence from a parent or adult relative.

The 2019 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by government through support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and partners revealed that one woman out of three people in Zimbabwe aged 20 to 49 is being married off before the age of 18, while 5% of girls get married before the age of 15.

Speaking at the high-level policy dialogue on child protection financing in Zimbabwe held in partnership with Unicef in Harare yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister, Paul Mavima said: “Direct budgetary allocations for child protection in the national blueprint, the national budget, are very much limited compared to their needs on the ground.”

He said most funds were allocated to the Basic Education Assistance Module.

“However, child protection is broader than access to education. It incorporates all strategies to prevent and respond to issues that harm the child and that require huge sums of finance. Prevention is better than cure; there is a need to invest more in prevention strategies such as the work of community childcare workers, early warning systems, awareness campaigns, and positive parenting,” Mavima said.

He further pointed out that donor financing of child protection programmes is not sustainable, and stressed the need to develop policies that address violence against children and to partner the private sector, churches and philanthropists on child support programmes.

On pensioners, Mavima claimed they were getting US$60 stipends per month.

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