Save the Children

Save the Children is a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe.

History

Since 1983 when Save the Children began operations in Zimbabwe, the organization remained committed to children, by supporting the government and communities to deliver on their mandate and make the country a better place for children. By implementing relevant programmes, responding to emergencies and advocacy efforts, major milestones have been reached in ensuring Zimbabwean child survives, learns and is protected. In 2016 alone, more than 2 000 000 people have been reached through Save the Children initiatives, and among these were 82000 people who had been left without food, following the El-Nino induced drought that affected the region.


Save the Children believes in working together, empowering and strengthening local capacity, hence they work mostly through a partner organization, such as civil society, government departments, and ministries, local authorities, communities, and children. All the organization's support in the communities is given freely, regardless of ethnicity, religious or political affiliation.

Child Poverty (Humanitarian) program

Save the Children’s Child Poverty (Humanitarian) program focuses on both life-saving responses in the aftermath of a disaster, as well as reducing the risk of disasters and managing the effects of hazards and climate change for vulnerable communities through livelihoods activities.

The immediate humanitarian relief and recovery programs aim to help affected children and their families cope in the aftermath of a disaster. This includes providing food, cash, non-food items, safe spaces for children to play, essential household and hygiene items, clean and safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.

In Zimbabwe, Save the Children helps to support the Department of Civil Protection’s relief efforts so as to save lives. Save the Children also helps vulnerable communities prepare for the possibility of a disaster, thereby reducing the negative impact of a disaster on their lives. In particular, Save the Children educates teachers and children about disaster risk reduction.

Child Protection programme

The Child Protection programme focuses on strengthening national and community-based child protection systems to be able to prevent and respond to all forms of child abuse. Zimbabwean children face numerous child protection violations which include rape, sodomy, harmful traditional and religious practices such as early marriages, virginity testing, kuripa ngozi (appeasing avenging spirits) among others. Save the Children is working at community and national level to ensure that all children are protected in line with Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

In Zimbabwe, Save the Children’s child protection programme focuses on three Child protection sub-themes: protection of children from violence, Appropriate Care, and Child Protection Systems. All our work and interventions are implemented in partnership with central government line ministries and departments as well as Local Authorities, which include Judicial Service Commission, Chipinge, Hurungwe and Beitbridge Rural District Councils and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Child Protection Systems

In partnership with Judicial Services Commission, the theme is strengthening coordination of the National Victim Friendly System in Zimbabwe. Over the years, capacity building of stakeholders and institutional development of relevant departments to prevent and respond to cases of violence and sexual abuse of children was done. Save the Children supported the establishment and equipping of 17 Victim Friendly Courts and 2 Child-Friendly Clinics. These courts were provided with recording machines, televisions, transcribing machines and anatomically correct dolls to enable child-sensitive court sessions to be held. These initiatives resulted in a quick turn-around of child abuse cases heard in court.

Protection of Children from Violence

Integrated programming with Education and Child Rights Governance themes is being done to protect children from violence and abuse including Physical and Humiliating Punishment (PHP), in partnership with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. Advocacy with the government for legal reform through realignment of the Education Act to the new Constitution that inhibits humiliating punishment in all settings is being done. Schools and communities are being trained in Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting and Teaching to enable them to adopt positive discipline practices in their day to day lives. Training and coaching of teachers, District Child Protection committees’ members and parents are being done to increase the capacity of these duty bearers and community to better protect children from violence and abuse.

A children’s online safety project is being implemented as a test and invest project. The project is being delivered in Harare Province, targeting a total of 20 schools, parents and Police. Children, teachers, and parents are being capacitated through training and children’s online safety clubs to be better informed on risks children face whilst online and how they can better protect themselves, including being able to report. Work with Police is focused on strengthening their capacity to be able to respond to online cases reported to them. Throughout the project, an operational research is being conducted in partnership with the University of Zimbabwe.


Appropriate Care

Save the Children is implementing a regional project together with South Africa, Zambia, and Mozambique. The purpose is to prevent unsafe migration of children and ensure safe repatriation for children at risk of unsafe migration in Zimbabwe. Bilateral coordination of governments to better address the challenge of unsafe migration is being done, including policy harmonization. Resources to enable for identification, documentation, tracing and reunification of unaccompanied migrant children are provided to enable the government to deliver on their mandate. In partnership with Rural District Councils, economic strengthening of communities is being done through income generating projects so as to reduce the financial burden that is recognized as the main driver to unsafe migration.

Child Rights governance

Save the Children’s Child Rights Governance (CRG) work aims to fulfil children’s rights by supporting the Zimbabwean government systems and civil society to effectively monitor and implement children’s rights as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), while ensuring children’s participation across the spectrum. The organization endeavors to hold the government accountable for what it has or has not been done for the realization of children’s rights. Key to the realization of these rights is more and better spending on children’s rights. CRG in Zimbabwe appreciates the importance of investment in children. The limited fiscal space and lack of prioritization of child rights invariably affect key child rights ministries in terms of allocative efficiency. Essentially, the Zimbabwean government is not in a position to adequately fund and sustain social protection for children such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). In order to enhance investment in children in the ensuing environment, Save the Children and its partner, National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) are advocating for a child friendly budget, that prioritises children and allocates more resources to ministries responsible for children’s issues and engaging with government on revenue generation issues to open up fiscal space for investing in children.

Good Governance Delivering Child Rights

In partnership with Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (MoJLPA), the programme supports Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) to meet the country’s reporting obligations on child rights instruments, namely United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) as well as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Further support is offered to enable for information dissemination to duty bearers on concluding observations and recommendations by the respective Expert Committees. Development of plans of action and implementation of these plans by respective duty bearers is supported. Technical support is being availed to the Human Rights Commission in delivering on their mandate through the Child Rights technical working group. It is through the technical working group that monitoring of child rights can be effectively done.

Monitoring and Demanding Child Rights with Children

Strengthening civil society to monitor child rights situation in Zimbabwe and development of supplementary reports on child rights instruments is done through the partnership with Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC), the umbrella body of the child rights sector. Furthermore, coordinated advocacy by civil society for redress of child rights violations is supported through the partnership with ZNCWC which plays the coordination role of civil society.

Public Investment in Children

In partnership with the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), evidence on public investment in children is gathered. Engagements are done with relevant Ministries, including Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in advocacy for child-friendly budgeting and expenditure.

SCI engages with Local Authorities through capacity building for them to meaningfully involve children in planning and budgeting processes and ensuring investment in children within the Local Authorities. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is engaged at school levels to support formation and strengthening of Junior School Development Committees (JSDCs) to enable them to effectively participate in decision-making processes on issues affecting them in their schools. Capacity building of schools is done to enable them to embrace meaningful child participation as a critical component of school development.

Education

Save the Children (SC) education work in Zimbabwe started in 1983. The strategy of SC is to support the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE), local authorities and local NGOs in the provision of basic education with a focus on increasing access to basic education.

The thrust of the education programme work is to contribute to improved learning outcomes in the primary school using strategies and evidence gathered in its work with strategic partners, MoPSE and schools in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and primary schools.

Early Childhood Development (ECD)

Zimbabwe made enrolment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers government policy in 2004. Over the last few years, there has been a steady increase in the ECD enrolment. There is joint work with MoPSE ECD district trainers, schools, and communities on raising awareness on benefits of ECD for learners, building the capacity of School Development Committees (SDCs) and schools to put up ECD play centers, make learning materials and in some cases providing assistance in the construction of standard ECD classrooms. These activities are helping increase ECD enrolment and participation of communities in the education of their children from early ages. In some places, we are noting increased community participation in ensuring the ECD learners get a nutritious meal. This community initiative is leading to increased enrolment in some areas. SC is now working with partners to gather evidence on the benefits of providing ECD education for learners and impact in the early years of the child’s development.

Basic Education

Zimbabwe has made great strides to achieve Universal Primary Education. Over the years, more and more marginalized children are getting access to basic education. The government programmes such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) have helped to reach this high percentage. SC programme seeks to make a difference in two ways. One of these ways is the reach of children who are not in school because they live in remote places far away from schools and children with disabilities. SC is working with MoPSE on supporting children with a range of challenges to access education. Some of them are supported with spectacles, hearing aids, Braille machines among other devices. The other way in which SC is seeking to make a difference to the education of children is improving learning outcomes. SC is working in partnership with strategic partners to improve learning outcomes. This work makes SC involved in a holistic approach called Quality Learning Environments (QLE). Through the QLE approach, SC is working with MoPSE, teachers, communities and other stakeholders to improve the quality of the learning environment to impact on the learning outcomes.

Quality Learning Environment (QLE)

SC is implementing the QLE approach that works as a planning tool with benchmarks and monitoring that ensures delivery and achievement of desirable learning outcomes. The QLE approach has 4 guiding principles. The first principle focuses on learning environments that ensure children’s emotional and psycho-social protection. The monitoring tool leads to interventions that ensure a school free of child abuse and discrimination; that encourages a child-friendly complaints reporting system or feedback in place. The second principle revolves around the physical safety of the school environment. This implies that the school programme should be inclusive and meet the physical well being of learners by providing such facets as suitable and appropriate infrastructure, potable water and safe play areas. School health, hygiene, and nutrition programmes are also critical in this instance. The third principle is about the learning environment’s capacity to allow and promote full and active participation of learners in the learning process. Here, the teacher must ensure the active engagement of learners and uses child-centered teaching, adaptive to learners’ needs for improved learning outcomes. The fourth guiding principle encourages parents; and local school communities to be actively supporting the children’s learning through involvement in planning, decision making, implementation, monitoring and such related activities to improve education service delivery. This principle clearly sets the tone for the parents’ role in supporting their children’s development and education.

The effectiveness of the QLE approach is being tested and tried by SC and a team of researchers through a pilot longitudinal project named ‘I’m Learning Project’. This project started in 2013 and will run for four years ending 2016.

Numeracy work

SC is working with MoPSE, teachers and the University of Zimbabwe to improve numeracy levels among learners in the primary school. The project is exploring the issues around the teaching and learning of numeracy, materials development, training and mentoring of teachers to be more effective in their teaching and facilitating of learning. Critical to this project is the gathering of evidence in order to trace the impact of the project. This project will take 4 years, from 2015 to 2018.

Advocacy

SC Education programme is anchored on strategic partnerships and advocacy activities. Through the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI), SC makes use of all opportunities such as the Education for All campaigns to advocate for increased national budget allocation for education in line with the targets set for the achievement of MDGs, increased access to quality education and zero tolerance to child abuse.

Numeracy work

SC is working with MoPSE, teachers and the University of Zimbabwe to improve numeracy levels among learners in the primary school. The project is exploring the issues around the teaching and learning of numeracy, materials development, training and mentoring of teachers to be more effective in their teaching and facilitating of learning. Critical to this project is the gathering of evidence in order to trace the impact of the project. This project will take 4 years, from 2015 to 2018.

Advocacy

SC Education programme is anchored on strategic partnerships and advocacy activities. Through the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI), SC makes use of all opportunities such as the Education for All campaigns to advocate for increased national budget allocation for education in line with the targets set for the achievement of MDGs, increased access to quality education and zero tolerance to child abuse.

Health and Nutrition

Save the Children’s Health and Nutrition program focuses on maternal and newborn health, Adolescent, Sexual and Reproductive Health and nutrition. We work closely with the government’s Ministry of Health and Child Care, partner organizations and communities to ensure that no mother dies while giving birth, that no child dies of preventable causes before their fifth birthday and gets adequate nutrition to ensure health, growth, and development. We also advocate for and support the provision of improved quality and access to health care services for mothers and newborns and work to increase the demand for healthcare services.

Maternal and Newborn Health

Save the Children believes no mother should die while giving birth and no child should die at birth. We support the training of health staff and community health staff to respond and improve access to maternal, reproductive and newborn health services. Some of the priority activities we do include provision of medical and essential BEmONC equipment, facilitation and support for training health staff including Village Health Workers in maternal and child health issues, i.e. BEmONC trainings aimed at improving timely identification and appropriate interventions for high risk mothers, revitalization of Kangaroo Mother Care units, logistical and technical support to the district health activities such as routine and outreach Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) programmes and strengthening the links between communities and rural health centres. Working with HCCs, using the Community Action Circle-communities are able to prioritize their health issues and map on how to resolve them-giving communities ownership and voice to how projects should be implemented.'