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
A little learning in progress
A little learning in progress

 Now seems like a good time to report of some of the adjoining work that goes around providing orphans with education. Over the last year we’ve supported over a hundred young women to get their birth documentation with many of these having their full documents now. On top of this we’ve supported a number of cases of child sexual exploitation, as those abused need help in claiming their rights. The process goes hand in hand with making sure that young people, particularly orphans, are able to access education, as the barriers they face without birth certificates are so pervasive that their life opportunities pivot on this issue.

As we seek to help vulnerable children we’ve been working to ensure that they are educated on a range of Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights. Our mentors help to deliver a curriculum that is engaging and empathetic as well as educational. Young people have been singing, dancing, composing poetry and dramas about the issues they face and with our support are aiming to overcome!

Thank you once again to all our donors (did you know that new monthly donors have a first month matched DOUBLING the value – tell a friend/family :-) . Thanks for making a difference.

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Working with Child Protection Committees
Working with Child Protection Committees

Birth Registration has experienced a turbulent few months with a third surge of Covid-19 affecting Zimbabwe and various levels of restrictions being implemented. Happily the Registry Offices have been partially operational, allowing us to help some vulnerable children to get their birth certification and take that basic but giant leap towards claiming their full rights as a citizen.

We’ve been able to run activities supporting people to be ready to go to the Registry Office. We’ve been attending with the community and supporting Child Protection Committees in handling case referrals and we’ve held our office drop in sessions too, providing expert support and legal guidance.

The backlog in Birth Registration created by Covid-19 is profound and something the country won’t be able to fix quickly but we’re happy to be part of a stakeholder group that’s working with the Registry Office to help out.

Thank you to all our supporters for your wonderful help!

Changing how communities value Birth Registration
Changing how communities value Birth Registration

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Removing barriers for a better life
Removing barriers for a better life

This quarter we've chosen to focus on a Case Study - please be advised that some informaiton could be upsetting.

 

Child Marriage: forcing young girls away from education and shattering dreams

Child marriages are a common practice in rural Zimbabwe. It is considered a socio-cultural norm with a number of communities continuing the harmful practice. Trinity Project works with the local community to prevent child marriages; firstly by educating against the cultural norm and secondly by providing children with access to identity documents, which is important as without such documents individuals cannot participate as full citizens.

Child marriage survivor: Charlette Moyo (name changed to protect identity)

Charlotte was born in South Africa, due to lack of proper documentation her mother could not get a decent job. She moved from one house to another as a domestic worker however this did not provide a stable income for her and her daughter. Charlotte’s mother decided to send her back to Zimbabwe, to be cared for by her grandmother with the hope that this would provide her with greater stability and quality of life. However Charlotte’s grandmother struggled to look after her and was unable to financially support her.

 

For Charlotte, poverty and an absence of identify documents posed two significant challenges early on in her life. Due to the financial burden of having to care for Charlotte, her grandmother sent her to stay with a relative in another village, she was 13 years old. Charlotte found herself in a difficult situation, whilst staying with her Aunt she was raped by a member of the community. The assault occurred at night when she was disturbed whilst asleep in her room. He was 27 and Charlotte was 14 at the time of her sexual assault.

It was then decided that she will would be married to the same man. Her family encouraged the marriage as in exchange they received a dowry. Charlotte was forced to quit school before it was possible for her to obtain any qualifications. The marriage was emotionally and physically abusive, the previous assault and the marriage had long term effects on her mental and physical wellbeing, causing a great deal of trauma.

 

In Zimbabwe children without official legal identity, become easy targets for abuse. Perpetrators can easily take advantage of children without documentation as it is very challenging for them to prove that they are indeed under aged.Charlotte was in an incredibly vulnerable situation with much of the cause being her lack of legal documentation.

Luckily, a Child Protection Committee Member from her village who works with Trinity Project heard of her situation. She met with Charlotte and told her she was a legal officer at the Trinity Project. She discussed her rights and potential options with Charlotte. However, the lack of birth certificate meant that there was no legal valid proof of age to defend her case. This caused a delay in her case and she sadly became pregnant at the age of 15. This worked against her case as it was used by her family to argue that she was not underage and that the marriage was in fact legal.

Trinity Project helped Charlotte gain justice against her abuser;

1)      Getting a birth certificate to help prove her age.

2)      Taking the case to court for her and providing legal advice.

She is no longer married, Charlotte won her case and her abuser was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. At this point in time Charlotte was guided to go to counselling at the Contact Counselling Centre, to help deal with the trauma.

Happily Charlotte is back at school preparing to complete her Ordinary Levels.

 

Trinity project continues to work with communities to combat child marriage. The project aims to raise awareness of the issues relating to child marriage and to combat its prevalence within local communities. The Trinity project works with child protection officers to continue to save young girls from having to go through similar situations.

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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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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
$13,840 raised of $20,000 goal
 
253 donations
$6,160 to go
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