Her Excellency Ms Asa Pehrson, Sweden’s Zimbabwean Ambassador and Dr Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, signed today a funding agreement of 5,8 million USD to support child protection programmes in Zimbabwe.
Funding will support different key interventions to protect children against violence, abuse and exploitation.
The event at the Residence of the Swedish Ambassador was graced by Simon Masanga, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
“Sweden believes that an efficient protection is essential to the children’s well-being because as vulnerable people, they are more exposed to issues of mistreatment, exploitation, discrimination and violence”, said Her Excellency Ms Pehrson.
Almost two out of every three children experience some form of violent discipline. Nearly one third of children as young as 5 up to 17 years are working. Of them, more than one out of ten working under hazardous conditions.
One in three girls under 18 experience sexual violence leading to teen pregnancy and early marriage. 21% of girls aged 15-18 are married or in in unions.
Masanga said, ” Government of Zimbabwe is committed to addressing all forms of violence against children to ensure that every child grows in a safe, secure and protective environment.
Our aim is to create a Zimbabwe fit for children through strategic partnerships and to expand child protection financing through the CHild Protection Fund.
Government expresses its gratitude to the peple of Sweden for the continued financial support towards the protection of vulnerable persons in Zimbabwe over the years.
The support rendered today will go a long way in improving the wellbeing of children, particularly those who are marginalised and vulnerable”.
The funding from Sweden will be used primarily in ten districts namely, Binga, Chiredzi, Bulilima, Buhera, Zvishavane, Mbire, Epworth, Beitbride, Mutasa and Bulawayo.
The districts have been selected based on the following key deprivation factors: urban, rural, and peri urban locations, poorest and vulnerable districts; districts prone to climate shocks; and remote districts.
“Sweden has been a long-term partner and donor to the protection sector in Zimbabwe. We are grateful to the Government of Sweden for this new contribution that will enable he fulfillment and realisation of children’s rights to protection in Zimbabwe.
We hope that many other countries will soon follow Sweden’s example and join the Child Protection Fund”, said Dr Oyewale.
The signature of the agreement coincide with the launch by UNICEF of a communication campaign on child protection focusing particularly on birth registration, children with disabilities, community childcare workers and child friendly justice.