Zimbabwe: Supporting displaced children's right to education

Report
from International Organization for Migration
Published on 27 Oct 2009
Nearly 25,000 displaced children in Zimbabwe are expected to have a safer, healthier and more conducive school environment through a new programme aimed at improving educational services for mobile and vulnerable children.

The programme, targeting 40 marginalized and neglected schools in need of emergency assistance in the capital Harare and in the districts of Hwange, Makoni, Mutare and Chpinge, aims to tackle some of the most pressing issues faced by displaced children in the country.

The state of the national education system, characterized by resignations, absenteeism and low morale among teachers, significant numbers of school drop out and violence against children is considerably worse among mobile and vulnerable populations.

A rapid assessment of six urban schools by Save the Children UK in 2008 showed a nearly 55 per cent drop in school enrolment, a nearly 70 per cent drop in teacher presence, a consistent pattern of school-based violence and an alarming degradation in school infrastructure including water and sanitation facilities that was having a serious impact on the education and health of the children.

The programme, to be carried out jointly between IOM, Save the Children UK and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) will work to enhance the physical, protective and social environment at school by refurbishing and re-equipping school facilities and through the provision of support and training in key life skills such as dealing with the risk of HIV and AIDS and sexual and gender-based violence.

Teachers will be supported in their work through training on a range of issues including protection of children in emergency situations and prevention of family separation.

IOM, which has received nearly US$ 740,000 from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will focus on liaising with mobile and vulnerable communities and the emergency refurbishment of the schools. The IRC and Save the Children will tackle water and sanitation and child focused activities respectively.

The programme builds on a joint IOM and multi-partner initiative that helped 19,000 displaced children's access to education through the provision of emergency education assistance to 33 primary schools and early childhood development centres in six provinces.

Although it is unclear how many vulnerable children are unable to attend school in Zimbabwe, UNICEF figures reveal that there are more than 850,000 orphans and vulnerable children attending primary and secondary schools in Zimbabwe in 2009.

For further information, please contact Judith Chinamaringa, IOM Zimbabwe, Tel: +263 4 33 50 48, Email: JChinamaringa@iom.int

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