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Interview with Patrick Makokoro, Founder and Director of Nhaka Foundation

When was Nhaka Foundation formed and what led to the decision to start the organization?
Nhaka Foundation was formed in 2007 to provide access to education and healthcare for vulnerable children. At that time there were just a few organisations providing holistic support to orphans and vulnerable children. Nhaka Foundation came as a means to provide support to children in difficult situations in Zimbabwe through access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs. When we began operations in 2007 we started with a child sponsorship programme to subsidise school fees. We later incorporated other programs, which include access to health and nutrition for children in marginalised communities. Nhaka Foundation works within the community and in partnership to reconnect the traditional safety nets that have been eroded through the social and economic upheaval that Zimbabwe has experienced.

Who plays the leading role in this important work?
The day-to-day responsibilities of running the organisation lie with a dedicated board of trustees and a management team which comprises administration and programme staff. We also value the participation of the community as our key stakeholders in the areas we operate in, and without their ownership we would not achieve anything. We believe all children should have the resources they need to lead a healthy and fulfilled life.

What kind of programmes are you currently implementing?
Nhaka Foundation has graduated from just providing children with school fees to establishing community partnerships. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and the community we identify primary schools that need assistance from the Early Childhood Development (EDC) perspective. Using EDC as an entry point into the community we then assist in renovating pre-school classroom blocks so that children can have safe learning environment. From there we are able to provide access to health, food and increased education. Under the ECD programme we implement teacher training, conduct health screenings in partnership with the Ministry of Health and we also have feeding programmes. To lower the costs in our programmes we engage volunteers to provide mentorship, support and guidance to the communities.

Please share some of your highlights
Nhaka is increasingly seen as a leading organization at national level driving the country’s ECD agenda forward. We recently championed the need to have a national network on early childhood development and this has resulted in the establishment of the Zimbabwe Network of ECD Actors (ZINECDA), which brings together ECD actors to influence policy and practice in ECD at a national level. We have also managed to send over 240 teachers for ECD training within the district of Goromonzi.

Through the ECD programme Nhaka Foundation now manages to provide daily meals to around 2920 children in the communities we operate in.

My biggest highlight, as the Nhaka Foundation director, is that we are working towards having a community taking full leadership and ownership of the programmes and responsibility in raising their children.

Karoi farmers ill-served by GMB

Report from a WhatsApp subscriber:

To report from Karoi we have a situation where by farmers were ordered to sell their maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) only. The Delta Beverages Company and National Foods were not allowed to buy maize from the farmers with a reasonable price. The GMB takes long to pay the farmers up to a year so the farmers are complaining due to the deteriorating standard of living. The farmer can  not even afford to buy inputs to prepare for the next season. The farmer does not even afford to pay the child’s school fee after selling his or her maize produce. The observer might say, it is the house of hunger.

Combined Harare Residents Association is hosting a public meeting on Tuesday.

Topic: Local Government Law Reform – Perspectives on the Proposed Bills by the Ministry of Local Government
Date: Tuesday 26 August
Time: 5:30 – 8pm
Venue: Ambassador Hotel, Harare

Speakers:
Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T
Lovemore Madhuku, NCA
Simbarashe Moyo, CHRA
Jacob Mafume, MDC Team
Zanu PF Rep

All invited

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Street posters – Join the debate!

Tell someone

A comment on the proposed local government legislation

When I first heard that the UNDP was acting as technical support to the Ministry of Local Government which was reviewing Zimbabwe’s local government legislation, I was excited. Local Government is responsible for so much of service delivery – whether there is clean water in our taps, whether our refuse is collected, whether our roads are potholed or patched. So I thought that maybe this new legislation would take advantage of the improvements the new Constitution provides, and really make a difference.

Instead, I have read through the proposed Local Authorities Bill and the proposed Provincial and Metropolitan Councils Administration Bill, and I am insulted. The five main reasons why I am insulted are:

1. The proposed Provincial and Metropolitan Councils Administration Bill administers Provincial and Metropolitan Councils, but it’s unclear what these councils do, or who pays for them. Is this just more jobs and more patronage positions?

2. The proposed Local Authorities Bill makes no mention of these Provincial and Metropolitan Councils. If government were serious about decentralisation and devolution, like the Constitution says, it would give some power to the Provincial Councils to oversee and interact with local authorities. Instead, all local authority activities are still organised through the Ministry of Local Government.

3. The proposed Local Authorities Bill doesn’t take any power away from the Ministry of Local Government. The new Bill is just the current Urban Councils Act + Rural District Councils Act merged into one document. Nothing changes. Local government doesn’t have any more power, independence, capacity or freedom from interference by the Ministry of Local Government than it currently does.

4. The proposed legislation doesn’t do anything to make it easier for me as a resident to be engaged with local government. It doesn’t make it easier for me to get at financial statements or audited accounts from the city. It doesn’t make it easier for me to get at minutes of council meetings or change of use proposals. It doesn’t take advantage of my newly constitutionally guaranteed right to information to support my informed participation in local governance. In the proposed new bills, government is still “over there,” while as a resident I remain unimportant, not involved and insignificant outside of one election every five years.

The Constitution (Sec 62) states:

“Every Zimbabwean citizen or permanent resident, including juristic persons and the Zimbabwean media, has the right of access to any information held by the State or by any institution or agency of government at every level, in so far as the information is required in the interests of public accountability.”

5. The proposed legislation doesn’t create any concrete way in which ordinary people can hold elected officials more accountable. If I have a problem with my councillor, or an objection to something the council is doing, it still just lands up in that big pile of residents’ complaints. There is no requirement to do anything about it, no obligation to respond to residents’ concerns, no duty to engage in clear ways that ensure citizen participation.

Personally I’m saying a very big NO to this proposed legislation. Don’t insult me by telling me that you’re “revising laws to align them with the new Constitution” when you’re not. Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution should be making things better for ordinary citizens. It should be giving us a stronger voice in the decisions that affect our day to day lives. Service delivery has a huge impact on the lives of ordinary citizens, and service delivery is local government. The new local government legislation changes nothing, and if our Parliament passes it as it stands, it will be an insult to us as citizens, and an insult to our new Constitution.


 

Get Informed!

Read the draft legislation and analyses and think for yourself:

Get Active!

Contribute to the debate:

-    How do you want to be able to engage with local government to make sure your voice is heard?
-    How do you think local government needs to improve service delivery to residents?
-    What do you think the role of the Ministry of Local Government should be?

Send us your thoughts, feedback, input and ideas! We will collate your contributions for inclusion in debate at a Stakeholders Conference next week.

Email info [at] kubatana [dot] net

The Ministry of Local Government, with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is currently engaged in a process to align Zimbabwe’s local government legislation with the 2013 Constitution.

As such, the Ministry of Local Government is currently welcoming input on proposed draft legislation including:

Given the importance of local governance to our day to day lives, Kubatana is very interested in this process, and wants to help Zimbabweans engage with this information in whatever ways possible.

So get informed! Read the above draft legislation, and send your comments through to info [at] kubatana [dot] net by the end of August.

Since the Local Authorities Bill is really long, these are some other documents that might help inform you:

Yeah right

The Constitution (Sec 62) states:

“Every Zimbabwean citizen or permanent resident, including juristic persons and the Zimbabwean media, has the right of access to any information held by the State or by any institution or agency of government at every level, in so far as the information is required in the interests of public accountability.”

Wheelchair etiquette – Tips via Twitter

When was Child Protection Society founded?
Child Protection Society (CPS) is a national, non-governmental, child rights organization that was established in 1952.

What led to the decision to start the organization?
At that time, there was a realisation that children from vulnerable families did not have access to early education and development. Two centres in Belvedere and in Eastlea were established so that parents could drop their children off in the morning and then collect them later. Chinyaradzo Children’s Home was established in 1967 to provide shelter to an increasing number of children who were being abandoned.

Who plays the leading role in this important work?
A board of directors governs CPS with expertise in different areas including paediatrics, NGO management and community volunteering which contributes to effective programme implementation. The organization also works with 90 community-based volunteers in Harare province.

What is Child Protection Society’s vision?
Our vision is to have a child friendly society, which facilitates the achievement of the full potential of every child.

Tell us about your programmes?
The organization runs three departments and under each department we have several activities taking place.

More

We have the Community Based Child Care programme. This project rests on the firm belief that if sensitized, communities have the capacity to identify their own problems and needs and can mobilize resources and come up with solutions to address these problems. Under the Integrated Model for Paediatric Access to Care & Treatment (IMPACT) programme the main objective is to improve the quality of life of children living with HIV and AIDS (CLHA). Children benefiting under this intervention are those who have been exposed to HIV but whose status is not yet confirmed, children who are HIV positive but do not have access to ART and children receiving ART.

CPS runs the Chinyaradzo Children’s Home Units situated in Highfield under its institutionalisation programme. The home has capacity for 60 children and it accommodates children in need of care due to various reasons. Advocacy and Community Capacity Development is another department, which seeks to reunify, and community reintegrate children from institutions. The project seeks to remove children from institutions (children’s homes, prisons and hospitals) and take them back into communities where they can grow in a normal family set up.  Through the Girls Empowerment project, CPS supports urban girls living in high-density suburbs of Harare between the ages of 10-19 years coming from vulnerable and non-vulnerable households.  The project offers functional literacy, life skills, reproductive health education, a second chance to education, and opportunities for saving money and building livelihood skills to girls who are either in, or out of school.

Do you feel that you are making a significant contribution to the lives of these children?
Very much so. A lot of positive change was brought about to the lives of each and every child we have reached out to. For example, Chinyaradzo children’s home have raised children who have achieved some great things in life.

Which success stories are you most proud of as an organisation?
We have been able to help 34 children access Antioretroviral Therapy (ART).  These were children who were visibly sick and were not attending school but are now healthy and are able to enjoy life just like any other child. We have also facilitated the reunification of 627 children in the past two years, children from children’s homes with their families thereby fulfilling their right to live in a family environment.

Are you fulfilled by your work?
Definitely!