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.

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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!

#FreeAngelaJimu

Read MISA-Zimbabwe‘s statement on the alleged assault and abduction by police of Angela Jimu

The proposed green industry initiative currently being formulated in Zimbabwe through a joint private/public partnership could be a potential source for energy and revenue if some of the best practices in waste management are adopted to support the initiative. The partnership which is between the government of Zimbabwe, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), NGOs and the private sector will focus on greening the economy through proper and effective waste management practices.

After embarking on a fact finding mission in South Korea at one of the biggest landfills in the world, the green industry team from Zimbabwe is convinced that the nation has the potential to turn the current uncontrolled dumping of waste into a source of income and energy. The Sudokwon landfill in South Korea uses gas produced from decomposing waste to generate almost 50 Megawatts of electricity from the waste it processes and the company realizes $38 million profit per year from selling power.

A replication of the Sudokwon model in Zimbabwe would see the setting up of sanitary landfills in Harare and Bulawayo and the project will help boost energy sources as methane gas will be collected from the sites while at the same time enhance waste management efforts in the country. In his presentation at the Miracle Missions waste management meeting, one of the green industry consultants, Tawanda Muzamwese, highlighted that one of the challenges faced by Zimbabwe’s waste management sector is the lack of policy to support the green industry and also the lack of incentives in other policy frameworks to support waste management. Economic benefits such as tax breaks and access to funding will go a long in stimulating waste management efforts and encourage behavior change.   Zimbabwe, just like other African countries is facing challenges to manage its waste in a sustainable way and this has resulted in major cities running out of dumping space and resorting to the burning of waste. The situation has been exacerbated by the use of archaic technologies in our industries that consume a lot of energy and produce massive amounts of waste. The proposed green industry initiative will see the setting up of a green fund in 2015 which will avail funding to industries and communities for waste management activities in the country.

Real heroes

Women menstruate; let’s talk about it

I read an interesting article on menstrual hygiene in Zimbabwe written by Miriam Mufaro. She mentioned how expensive sanitary ware is and how the lack of access to water is proving to be a challenge too. This took me back to 2002-2003 when I was still in high school in Gweru. During this period there was a shortage of sanitary ware in the city. You couldn’t just walk into a supermarket and find sanitary ware on the shelves. You had to join the long queue at David Whitehead Textiles where you got cotton wool because that’s all they had to offer. At least during those days the issue of water coming out of our taps was not much of a challenge! Now ten years later there’s a lot of different sanitary ware on the shelves but there are still challenges. As discussed by Priscilla Mishairambwi-Mushonga in Parliament last month, sanitary ware can be expensive, and with our dry water taps at home and at work, menstruation has turned into a nightmare.

The sad thing is no one wants to talk about it.

When @263Chat hosted an online conversation about sanitary ware one guy tweeted that he was going to unfollow the online platform because they were talking about pads. Wow, some men just can’t bear to hear any talk about the challenges of women menstruating yet out there a girl is using cow dung as her only means of dealing with menstruation!

Let’s be clear, women are facing serious challenges regarding menstruation, and we need to talk about them.

Harare residents demand water

Interview with Africaid Zvandiri

When was Africaid Zvandiri founded and what led to the decision to start the organisation?
Africaid Zvandiri was founded in 2004 here in Harare. It started when a group of teenagers approached us asking for help to set up a support group where young people with HIV could come together and learn about living with HIV and how to cope with different life experiences they face and just to get support from one another and people with similar experiences. At that time there was a group of us working in various clinics looking after people with HIV.

I received a letter from a girl called Simbisai and by that time she was about 14 years old. So we started the first support group in 2004 with a group of volunteers, which included nurses, doctors and counselors working in HIV. We asked the children what they would like to name the support group and they came up with the name and the logo. They named it Zvandiri which is supposed to mean “I maybe HIV positive but accept me the way I am”. As the program started growing the message behind the name stayed true to what they wanted it to be right from the beginning. The children also designed the logo for the organization which has a rock with a door on it symbolizing how after all the experiences their hearts have become hardened, and the support group representing the door into their hearts and with the sun behind showing the light ahead.

We began as one single support group named Zvindiri led by young teenagers living with HIV and the involvement of young people has been the thrust behind this organization from day one.

Who plays the leading role in this important work?
I would say the young people. We have a team of fourteen. Ten are in Harare and four are in Manicaland, Midlands and Bulawayo. We are a team of nurses, counsellors, social workers and finance people. But really the young people are at the forefront of leading, designing and informing the program in terms of what they need.

What is the vision?
The vision is that young people with HIV, children and adolescents up to twenty-four years have the knowledge, skills and confidence to live happy fulfilled lives. We recognised that clinical care isn’t enough for young people with HIV and this was the vision right from the beginning ten years ago. We realised all the psychological and social issues they were experiencing needed to be addressed so this is one of the first support groups in the country for young people with HIV. It has grown over the years from one support group to be a network of twenty groups across Harare.

What kind of programmes are you currently implementing?
Africaid Zvandiri comprises service delivery (which is through the support groups and outreach team), Zvandiri centres and advocacy work. The support groups are run every month by children who participated in setting them up ten years ago and are now administering them for their peers. Zvandiri Centres which are clinic based provide children, youth and adolescents with access to information on how to cope with stigma and status, provide counseling, clinical assessments and sexual reproductive health services.

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Most of the young people who participate in Africaid Zvandiri programmes are primarily referred from clinics, schools, churches, the Department Of Social Services, communities and by individuals once they know the child’s HIV status and the child knows his/her status. We provide community based support groups and a community outreach team, which are made up of a doctor, nurses, counsellors and social workers. The community outreach team works in the communities to do follow up visits, counselling, training and identifying children who are unwell and referring them to a clinic. The outreach team has a total of 20 adolescents living with HIV who have been trained and mentored as counselors. They work in the communities and clinics with city health departments providing counseling to their younger peers with the main focus of supporting adherence to ARVs, which complements the work of nurses and counselors. The team also identifies children who maybe struggling with adherence to ARVs and those who are sick and need support from the Department Of Social Welfare.

The aim of the outreach team, the support groups and the four Zvandiri centres in the clinics across Harare is to complement the work being done by the health team at clinics by providing additional counselling and support to the community.

Africaid Zvandiri also conducts training under its advocacy program. Children and adolescents receive training on developing knowledge skills and confidence on how to cope with their HIV status and to live happy, healthy, fulfilled lives. The training program has also targeted caregivers, health workers and community members in an effort to strengthen people’s understanding and responses to the needs of HIV positive children and adolescents.

Do you feel that you are making a significant contribution to the lives of these children?
I believe so. Through direct services that I have been mentioning of building young people’s knowledge and understanding of what’s happening to them, their capacity to cope with the situation and adhere to medication. To help them to be resilient, cope better with stigma and make informed treatment and prevention decisions by keeping them linked to health services..

Which success stories are you most proud of as an organisation?
Tomorrow morning when a group of young people’s song will be played at the International Aids Conference in which they are speaking of their experiences about being HIV positive, openly disclosing publicly to the to the world, is an exceptional highlight! Young people from Africaid Zvandiri have been very much involved in campaigning and raising the profile for the rights of children and adolescents with HIV and some of their efforts have culminated in the production of a music video called How to dance which will be played at the International Aids Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

It has to be one of the proudest moments for the organisation because these young children have overcome challenges in their lives, they have become resilient enough and strong enough to say this is me, “Zvandiri”.

Also we have been running this programme for ten years in Harare now and people have been asking if we are going to cover other areas. I’m proud to say for the past three years we have been able to replicate and integrate the model into other districts and three other provinces.

At an individual level we had one of our girls offered a place to do a Masters in the United Kingdom.

Do you have any events you have planned for the year?
Yes we do. On service delivery we plan to continue strengthening the programme in Harare and continue to scale up across the country and reach out to high priority districts together with Ministry of Health and Child Care.

We are also planning on raising the profile of issues of children living with HIV as a child rights issue. Children have the right to be tested; they have the right to access treatment, they have the right to know about their status and to have families of their own. So where these rights are violated we want to support the Ministry Of Labour And Social Welfare so that children are able to access care.

NGOs in Zimbabwe have been speaking out against the recent violence in Chingwizi transit camp. Check out these statements and keep updated: