A YEAR IN
Proper nutrition and farming is important to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS in communities
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• The economic and political crisis has caused a steep decline in health, education, water and sanitation services
• Ensuring children are protected and can take part in addressing issues that affect them
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• Helping children, families and communities to Ugalla cope with HIV/AIDS Sham a • Making sure all children can go to school and Gre receive a good basic education at R uah Rufiji • Helping families to become economically secure a and have enough to eat
of abuse, especially the sexual abuse of girls
b Igomchildren’s and families’ health • Improving and nutrition
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• Drought, food shortages and rampant inflation mean many families do not have enough to eat Ka Luvu s ai a • Children’s rights are not widely respected and there are increasing cases
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Children play with new education materials at an early childhood centre
Capital: Harare Population: 11.9 million Languages: English, Shona
in Zimbabwe e
i why Plan works in Zimbabwe Sankuru
DEM. REP. OF CONGO
Economy: Mineral exports,
agriculture, and tourism are Okav the main foreign currency ango earners of Zimbabwe. The and Ndebele NAMIBIA mining sector remains very Climate: Although located lucrative, with some of the in the tropics, temperate world’s largest platinum conditions prevail all year as o reserves. The downward and the climate is moderated by Cu has spiral of the economy altitude and the inland position been attributed mainly of the country. The hot and to mismanagement and dry season is from August to corruption and the eviction of October, and the rainy season more than 4000 white farmers from November to March. in the controversial land Night-time temperatures can redistribution of 2000. This fall below freezing. has also resulted in Zimbabwe, previously an exporter of maize, becoming a net importer.
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keeping children safe Child abuse is a growing problem in Zimbabwe. Through our work with community child protection committees and the police, cases of child abuse are being investigated and the number of offenders being prosecuted has increased. Plan supports a Victim Friendly Court, helping sexually abused children to give evidence in a safe environment. We also work more
The Bigger Picture broadly to raise awareness of children’s rights and campaign against violence in schools. Through children’s clubs, we help children’s voices to be heard. Children without birth certificates are vulnerable to exploitation, so we help parents to register children’s births.
Plan is working with children, families and communities to find sustainable solutions to the challenges in Zimbabwe. We have only given you a small insight into Plan’s work in Zimbabwe with this report but over the past year we also: • Provided food and school expenses for 8388 orphans and other vulnerable children
Children Find Justice
• Helped to immunise over one million children against preventable diseases
In Zimbabwe, cases of child sexual abuse are increasing.
• Schools supported by Plan stayed open when other schools closed for several months due to the economic crisis
In most cases, the abuser is well known to the family, but prosecution is often difficult because many children find it too traumatic to give evidence in court with their abuser present. Plan wants to make sure that children have legal protection from abuse, so we are supporting the government-initiated Victim Friendly Court (VFC) in Tsholotsho district, western Zimbabwe. Making child-friendly justice a reality Before the VFC was set up, trials of child sexual abuse cases from Tsholotsho district took place in Bulawayo, 75 miles away. Now, the VFC brings justice closer to the community by coming to Tsholotsho district each month. Plan provided television and video equipment so that children can testify in court through a video link from a separate room. Anatomically correct dolls donated by Medecins Sans Frontieres help children show what happened to them. Plan also helps children and women to become more aware of different forms of abuse, and how to report it. Local services for those who have been abused include counselling, provided by teachers, nurses and police officers, and treatment to prevent HIV infection. The most painful day of my life One girl’s story shows how the VFC can make a difference. Ennia is 13 and lives in Tshabanda village. In March 2009, she met three older boys, friends of her brother, on the way to the fields. One of them tripped her up, and they took turns to rape her. Thanks to Plan’s awareness campaigns about abuse, Ennia knew what to do. She was brave enough to report the attack to her teacher. The police arrested the boys, who were taken to court. They had threatened to kill her if she reported the rape, but Ennia felt confident enough at court to tell her story. ‘I thank Plan and the court for helping me deal with my case speedily in a friendly environment,’ she says. ‘I received counselling and post-trauma assistance, and post- exposure
Produced for Zimbabwe by the Australian National Office.
HIV treatment. I am quite happy that now I can walk to school alone or with my friends without fear of abuse. Now I have regained my confidence and look forward to passing my exams.’ The VFC speeds up the processing of cases, meaning children do not have to relive the trauma of their abuse in court for a prolonged period. More cases are being tried: the VFC in Tsholotsho district handled 17 cases of child sexual abuse between January and August 2009. Cases of child abuse have also reduced because of awareness campaigns focusing on abuse, and the fact that the VFC acts as a deterrent.
• Trained 3570 health workers on treating childhood diseases
Your support as a sponsor is crucial to achieving these results. With the resources provided by sponsors, Plan expertise and the collaboration of communities and local partners we are making a big difference to the lives of people in Zimbabwe. Thank you for your involvement!
‘I hope this court will continue to help children who are abused to get justice,’ says Ennia. Another girl who is enthusiastic about the VFC is 11-year-old Lilian. She lives in Makaza with her mother, and her father works in South Africa. Last year, when her mother was in South Africa, her uncle slipped into the hut where she slept and raped her. This continued for two weeks and she did not know who to tell.
To learn more about Plan’s work in Zimbabwe visit plan.org.au/ourwork/southernafrica/zimbabwe
Through Plan’s awareness campaigns, she found out that she could report the abuse to her village’s child protection committee. The VFC enabled her to give evidence without being intimidated, and her uncle was jailed. Many of the cases dealt with by the VFC are equally horrific, but there’s now a new optimism in Tsholotsho that the community can deal with child abuse effectively. Some names have been changed for child protection and privacy reasons
‘I hope this court will continue to help children who are abused to get justice.’
‘I thank Plan and the court for helping me deal with my case speedily in a friendly environment.’