Switzerland contributes 3,000 bicycles for child protection work in Zimbabwe.

Web article, 24.05.2019

Switzerland through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and a consortium of donors – Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and UK Aid have presented the first batch of up to 3,000 bicycles to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare through UNICEF to support and improve the ability of Community Childcare Workers to provide child protection services in Zimbabwe.

Bicycles for community Childcare Workers in Zimbabwe are more than just two wheels – they can save children’s lives. Rosemary Manene (centre) says that with her new bicycle she will now do more to reach out to vulnerable children in her community and beyond.
Bicycles for community Childcare Workers in Zimbabwe are more than just two wheels – they can save children’s lives. Rosemary Manene (centre) says that with her new bicycle she will now do more to reach out to vulnerable children in her community and beyond. © Embassy of Switzerland in Zimbabwe.

“Community Childcare Workers are uniquely positioned to play an important social protection role in their respective communities in all government supported social protection programmes. This is in line with destroying the silo mentality of programmes and these bicycles will make them very mobile,” said Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Honourable Lovemore Matuke.

The SDC through the Child Protection Fund has been supporting the implementation of the child protection case management programme in 18 districts of Zimbabwe since 2013. Some 3,000 Community Childcare Workers (CCWs) are part of the community social services workforce, responsible for following up on reported cases of child protection violations. One of the biggest challenges faced by CCWs is mobility, which hampers their ability to reach affected children and their families with services.

“We are very happy to be part of this amazing project that is doing such important work in communities. Our goal is to bring the greatest possible level of protection services to children in Zimbabwe. These volunteers come directly from the populations they serve. Sensitive questions that communities will not discuss with an outsider, they will ask Community Childcare Workers. And if we facilitate efficient mobility as we have done through these bicycles to community volunteers, then we can further protect the children of this country,” said Switzerland Ambassador, Niculin Jäger.

In 2018, the Child Protection Fund supported over 54,000 children who received comprehensive child protection services through the National Case Management System. Community Childcare Workers play a critical role in this system that provides children, families and communities access to improved and integrated child protection (prevention and response) services.

“Each community childcare worker brings to their work in the community, deep personal commitment, knowledge and experience. They rely on the mobility of a bicycle to visit the households they serve. UNICEF is proud to collaborate with the Government of Zimbabwe, implementing partners and donors to support the CCWs to do this invaluable job,” said UNICEF Representative, Laylee Moshiri.

After receiving her certificate on Basic Case Management for Childcare Workers and her bicycle, Rosemary Manene (55) said that she is excited to be mobile.

“I am happy to receive this bicycle which will enable me to reach many children and families and reduce my travel time during home visits. Personally, and on behalf of my other Childcare Workers, I thank the Child Protection Fund donors and UNICEF for supporting us with these bicycles and training.”

The Child Protection Fund in Zimbabwe ensures that by 2020, children live in a safer and more conducive environment that safeguard their care and protection and supports their sound growth and development.