Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education

by Zimbabwe Educational Trust (ZET)
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Give 200 orphans in Zimbabwe access to education
Communities learn about how to claim their rights
Communities learn about how to claim their rights

In case we are at risk of forgetting that giving orphans and vulnerable children access to education is an issue that has Birth Registration at the root, we've been remineded of it time and again this quarter. The lack of consistent structures and practices ensuring that new borns children are registered at birth are hand in hand with the cultural barriers which we're looking to address.

In spite of the difficulties created by coronavirus we have a seen a range of successes across the programme. A key element has been the successful engagement of various parties at stakeholder meetings where we continue to see increasing commitment to birth registration as a long term issue and promote the culture of accountability between local authorities, service providers and citizens.

Conducted through Community Dialogues, Sensitisation Meetings and Support Visits; our work with various members of the community has continued to develop their knowledge and capacity to handle birth registration cases, advocate for their own rights and address the cultural barriers present by challenging the way communities think about birth registrations.

We're also delighted to report an integral role in the formation of a subcommittee comprised from stakeholders which has been created to continue to receive issues on child protection and attend to them on the ground. The committee is composed of stakeholders representation from; Police Victim Friendly Unit, Department of Social Development, District Administrator’s Office, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Women Affairs, Justice for Children, Plan International, Zimbabwe Women Lawyer’s Association and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

Stakeholders present on the issues faced
Stakeholders present on the issues faced

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Key Staff: Our Monitoring & Evaluation Officer
Key Staff: Our Monitoring & Evaluation Officer

In one of our most productive quarters ever we’re delighted to report that in spite of the limitations of coronavirus we’ve still been able to (safely) conduct a number of activities in the community strengthening work on Birth Registration.

One key success has been in the training of our Community Advocates – these are members of the Bubi and Umguza districts who are taking the next step in being able to advocate for themselves on issues related to Birth Registration. Doing this in different parts of local and national government they are starting to hold duty bearers to account for the services they provide to the community. Our evaluations show that the advocates show a strong understand of issues and now have the confidence to put what they’ve learned into practice. This doesn’t mean that we’re leaving them to it tough – we continue to provide support visits to help advocates and those within CPCs (Child Protection Committees) with the additional help they need to be able to drive forward individual cases of birth registration as well as the agenda as a whole.

In a similar vein this quarter saw us meet with national officials to discuss issues such as; registration centres, opening up online registration (particularly relevant in coronavirus times when the registry office has been closed) and health centre’s withholding records. We’re happy to have assurances that policies, enshrined in law, will be carried out in these provinces. We also met with the district nursing officials who agreed to prioritise informing communities on the importance of registering births, ensuring that this vital issues grows in the public consciousness.

We’ve also been holding Community Dialogues where, communities have been identifying their own issues and making Community Action Plans. These highlight priorities for them work on (with our support) and should be some of the most effective means of ensuring change. Issues chosen include;

  • Doing home visits to support the registration of children who were born at home/outside of a medical centre
  • Encouraging expectant mothers to register with medical centres
  • Emphasise the importance of accurate record keeping as a way to remove a simple barrier to birth documentation
  • Work with the Registry Office to be lenient and supportive of cases in order to facilitate completion

In addition to this we’ve been supporting the birth registration cases of undocumented children and recently contributed to an online forum discussing the impact of coronavirus on birth registration nationally.

Did you know: It’s estimated that around 200,000 children will have been born in Zimbabwe whilst the registration office has been closed. The backlog created only heightens the urgency of our work in making birth registration easier and more consistently done for the children of Zimbabwe.

Training In Action
Training In Action

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Corona-virus information translated into Ndebele
Corona-virus information translated into Ndebele

During these unpresented times of Covid-19 we've been working tirelessly to adapt our work and support the needs of the community. We're proud to say that we've been working with Bubi District Hospital to help them prepare for cases with equipment such as hand sanitisers, gloves, masks and hand-wash stations. Support for this effort now has its own appeal if you'd like to support it (thank you).

We've also been working to ensure the latest information about safe practices reaches the public and we have drawn information from sources like World Health Organisation, John's Hopkins University and the BBC. Communicating with the people we usually serve is challenging as not everyone has access to a phone or mobile data so we've been using various means to help get the message out. 

At the same time we've been putting in place a number of safety measures to allow our staff to return to the office as quickly as possible and get out into the community where they can, (following social distancing protocols and safe practices) continue to deliver the essential services that gain young people their birth certification documentation and in turn access to services, legal advice and that silver bullet – education.

We’d like to take this moment to thank all those in the areas we work in who’ve done so much to protect their communities and save lives, and all of you who help us fund our work to see that the most vulnerable people are not left even further behind when this crisis struck.

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Trinity Project Staff - November 2019
Trinity Project Staff - November 2019

This quarter we are happy to report the success story of Anisha and her grandmother and caregiver, Chelya. Anisha was born in South Africa and was brought to Zimbabwe by her mother, Samantha, upon her return when Anisha was six months old. However, due to Samantha’s chronic illness and inability to meet registration requirements, Anisha was an undocumented citizen and subsequently excluded from education. 

Chelya attempted to resolve the issue by approaching the Registrar General’s Office several times. However, her attempts were unsuccessful. In South Africa, Samantha used a pseudo-name to access maternal health. This meant that when Chelya tried to register Anisha, she could not prove that Samantha was her mother; it was Samantha’s pseudo-name that appeared on the health card, appearing that various essential registration documents did not match. 

After many unsuccessful attempts, Chelya approached the Trinity Project. Owing to the strong stakeholder relationship between the organisation and the Registrar General’s Office, Trinity Project successfully lobbied for the registration of the Anisha in line with the National Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children and United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child. As a result, Anisha managed to obtain a birth certificate represented by her grandmother instead. Anisha is now a registered Zimbabwean citizen and is enrolled in school. This also enables Anisha to access her various socio-economic rights associated with health and justice.

Anisha’s case represents the many children who are at risk of having their future compromised and being trapped in the vicious poverty cycle that will increase their risk of sexual exploitation, child trafficking, sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancies, child marriages and more. Without access to identity documents, children are not visible in the eyes of the state and remain on the peripheries of official society. It means not being part of the national population register, disabling the state from providing adequate services like education and social services. They face challenges that those with access to identity documents will never face. The Trinity Project continues to work to protect and empower these vulnerable individuals. 

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Clients being interviewed by the HR Commission
Clients being interviewed by the HR Commission

Alongside other business: This quarter saw us focus on the strategic elements of our work on birth registration. 

Trinity project being a major stakeholder in access to documentation, we were approached to lead community mobilisation and to present before the panel of commissioners the challenges they face in trying to assist clients. The organisation managed to partner with Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission on the National Inquiry on access to documentation in Zimbabwe by leading community mobilisation in the provinces of Bulawayo and Umguza. Clients were given a platform to present their testimonies and talk about the  challenges they are facing during birth registration before the ZHRC Commission and also in the presence of the Registrar's officers who are responsible for issuing birth certificates.

After the presentations were made we further recommended that, regular mobile exercises be conducted by the Registrar’s Office and the Registrars themselves to adopt definitions of a 'relative' that is friendly and relevant to our sociocultural background (the laws should be relevant to us). We also recommended that requirements be loosened in order to allow relatives and traditional leaders to register children.

Work at this level is the most sustainable form of delivery and lays the ground for millions of future Zimbabweans to be registered correctly at birth and access their full set of rights. 

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Organization Information

Zimbabwe Educational Trust (ZET)

Location: LEEDS, West Yorkshire - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @zet_uk
Project Leader:
Derrick Mkandla
Leeds, West Yorkshire United Kingdom
$11,662 raised of $20,000 goal
 
196 donations
$8,338 to go
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