By Staff Reporter
THE Swedish embassy has injected US$5.8 million to support child protection programs in Zimbabwe through United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The ambassador of Sweden in Zimbabwe Ms Asa Pehrson and UNICEF representative in Zimbabwe Dr Tajudeen Oyewale signed the funding agreement, Tuesday in Harare.
The funding will be used primarily in Binga, Chiredzi, Bulilima, Buhera, Zvishavane, Mbire, Epworth, Beitbridge, Mutasa and Bulawayo districts based on key deprivation factors such as urban, rural, and peri-urban locations, poorest and vulnerable districts, districts prone to climate shocks and remote districts to the leave no one behind dimension.
“The 60 million kronor we are signing for today is going to support the Zimbabwe Child Protection programme III which will cover a wide range violence, abuse and neglect of children, child of child protection from marriage, teenage pregnancies, child trafficking, sexual violence and sexual exploitation of children, child poverty, children in contact/conflict with the law, and birth registration.
“This comes after realising that children experience insidious forms of violence, exploitation, and abuse in the places they should be most protected: their homes, schools and online.
“Sweden believes that an efficient protection is essential to children’s well-being because as vulnerable people they are more exposed to issues of mistreatment, exploitation, discrimination and violence,” Pehrson said during the ceremony.
Government vowed to address all forms of violence against minors.
“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,” said Ministry of Social Welfare Permanent Secretary Simon Masanga.
According to UNICEF, 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 and more than one out of ten work under hazardous conditions. One in three girls under 18 experience sexual violence leading to teen pregnancy and early marriage with 21% of girls aged 15-18 are married or in unions.