ZIMBABWE faces widespread violence against children, with two-thirds of girls, and three-quarters of boys, experiencing physical violence by a parent or an adult relative, a 2019 survey has revealed.
According to the 2019 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, conducted by the Government of Zimbabwe with support from UNICEF and partners, one woman out of three in Zimbabwe, aged 20 to 49, was married before the age of 18.
Five percent of girls were married before the age of 15.
Nearly one child out of three, between five and 17 years in the country, is engaged in child labour, involving particularly young boys living in rural areas, as well as children living with disabilities.
Speaking at a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Child Protection Financing, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Professor Paul Mavima, said more funding was needed for the protection of children.
“This High-Level Policy Dialogue on Child Protection Financing is of critical importance as children in Zimbabwe face many protection issues, including child marriage, violence against children and child labour,” he said.
“Adequacy of financial resources will aid the enforcement of laws and implementation of these policies and programmes, hence we are gathered here today to foster synergies amongst ourselves as government, development partners and the private sector to critically examine child protection financing with the view of achieving better outcomes for children.”
Prof Mavima said there were eleven thousand (11000) ward-based Community Childcare Workers conducting community child protection surveillance for early identification cases and quick referrals to service providers.
“It is imperative that we bring our heads together as we are gathered here and come up with a sustainable strategy to support this workforce as they are stationed right where the children are, they are the first port of call for all child protection concerns,” he said.
“Government has done a lot to enhance social service workforce strengthening strategies.
“Child protection is a specialist area that requires special skills sets for comprehensive outcomes for children.
“And, this includes social workers, psychologists, clinicians, victim friendly police personnel and educationists, amongst others.
“Institutions are to be manned by well-trained and resourced personnel.”
Prof Mavima said child protection financing is heavily leaning on donor funds and that is not sustainable.
He said the Government will continue to look into this issue and mobilise domestic resources.
Speaking at the same event, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, Dr Tajudeen Oyewale, said increased financial resources were needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and related outcomes, for children and their right to protection.
“UNICEF recognises the good work being done by the Government on the issue of child protection.
“The notable achievements include a developed child protection legal, policy and institutional framework, as well as the strengthening of the provision of child protection services through the roll out of the National Case Management System in all districts,” he said.