ZIMBABWE: Poverty Alleviation Scheme Targets Kids
Monday, October 3, 2011
HARARE, 30 September 2011 (IRIN) – Orphans and vulnerable children from more than 80,000 households in Zimbabwe are set to benefit from a three-year government and donor-funded programme to cushion them from the worst effects of poverty.
Led by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Labour and Social Services with support from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the governments of the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and the European Commission (EC), the National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Phase II, will take a three-pronged approach to reaching children most at risk – with cash transfers, educational assistance through the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) and child protection services.
Sarah Mutodi, 19, from Harare is grateful for the educational support she received under the first phase of the National Action Plan (NAP), which was launched in 2005 and drew on a multi-donor funded pool of US$85 million to reach half a million children, according to UNICEF.
“I lost both my parents in an accident the year I was supposed to sit for my A-levels and could not have completed my high school studies if I had not received assistance under BEAM,” said Mutodi, who is now studying for an engineering diploma.
However, the social protection mechanism has not been able to reach all of the country’s more than one million orphans and Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown of the past decade has considerably strained the ability of families and communities to support orphans and children affected by HIV.