INDICATORS FOR CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
ZIMBABWE COUNTRY CASE STUDY
INVIOLATA CHINYANGARA, ISRAEL CHOKUWENGA, ROSELYN G. DETE, LINDA DUBE, JOSHUA KEMBO, PRECIOUS MOYO & RATIDZAI SHARON NKOMO
Dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth
Musarurwa, Coordinator of the National Programme of
Action for Children of Zimbabwe until her untimely death in October 1997,
and to the children of this country, who have lost a devoted champion.
Zimbabwe is the fifth country in the world to be involved in the Childwatch
International project for developing indicators to assist in the area of
implementing children’s rights (with the support of Redd Barna – Zimbabwe).
We know that Zimbabwe ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights
of the Child in September, 1990. This treaty has had a wide international
response. Up to the time of writing this Foreword, 189 countries had ratified
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the exceptions
being the United States of America, the Cook Islands and Somalia.
In the process of ratifying international conventions, the document
is first signed to indicate willingness to abide by its provisions. Then
the document is supposed to be given wide publicity so that policy makers
and the public are aware of, and have a chance to debate, the contents.
If there are any reservations, they should be noted and presented when
finally ratifying the convention. In the case of Zimbabwe, the normal procedure
was not adhered to. Parliamentarians were only made aware of the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child last year (1996) in May and
reminded of it in March this year (1997) when the National Programme of
Action for Children (NPA) called for a Parliamentary caucus to disseminate
information on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,
as well as the First Report from the Government of Zimbabwe to the United
Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and subsequent comments about
this Report made by the Committee.
At present children’s rights advocacy programmes are being carried out
in a very small way in this country. There is need for wider advocacy in
this area by everyone working in child-related areas to ensure that the
whole community is aware of human rights as they pertain to children. One
should note that talking about children’s rights in Zimbabwe needs careful
planning, since the nation has not fully accepted women’s rights – let
alone children’s rights!
Monitoring mechanisms are crucial to all situations because they enable
one to assess whether results have been achieved or not and make it possible
to establish what the constraints have been. When we talk of indicators
for child rights in Zimbabwe we are all aware that, when the present indicators
in the NPA were developed, they were not focussed on the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child but rather based on the narrower
range of principles encompassed by ‘Child Survival, Development and Protection’.
It is within this context that ideas about indicators in use within the
NPA were developed. It is also within this context that ideas about children’s
rights are developing in Zimbabwe. Thus, the document presented in 1990
at the World Summit for Children was complemented by the First Report of
the Government of Zimbabwe to the United Nations Committee on the Rights
of the Child.
It is within this historical background that monitoring mechanisms have
to be developed. It was therefore important for the Zimbabwe Country Case
Study Team of the Childwatch International Indicators for Children’s Rights
project to analyze critically the indicators presently in place in terms
of how well they address children’s rights. Recommendations about how to
improve the present status of indicators were also required. In addition,
it should be borne in mind that, in order to develop ideal indicators or
monitoring mechanisms for the whole area of children’s rights, it is necessary
to ask ourselves:
- How feasible will they be to implement?
- What are the financial and technical, as well as human, resources required
to implement them?
- Are they in priority areas?
- How sustainable will they be as part of the overall set of monitoring
It is necessary to ‘Think big, but always act small’. Thus I recommend
that the Country Case Study Team should assist the NPA in:
- Developing comprehensive indicators for the areas indicated in the
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
- Giving us an opportunity to put indicators in place in one or two areas
and then evaluate their success/failure
We understand that the development of monitoring mechanisms is a process
rather than a project. Since we have started with a project we should be
able to move into the process and thereby own the programme after the project
has ended. Success in this area will be demonstrated by the extent to which
Zimbabwe owns the process itself.
National Programme of Action For Children (NPA) of Zimbabwe
About the authors
Members of the Zimbabwe Country Case Study Team, which was responsible
for developing the protocol for data collection, as well as for collecting
and analyzing the data and for writing this Report:
Inviolata Chinyangarara, a graduate lawyer from the University
of Zimbabwe. Inviolata has been involved in researches on child labour
and the sexual exploitation of children. She is currently, through the
Training, Research and Support Centre Network (TARSC), responsible for
establishing ‘victim friendly courts’ in Zimbabwe.
Israel Chokuwenga, who is both a scholar and practitioner. He
trained as a social scientist with a bachelor’s degree in social work from
the University of Zimbabwe. After working as Director of a refugee camp
in Zimbabwe between 1988 and 1993, Israel spent 1995 in the University
of Cambridge, where he had a fellowship in the Global Security Fellows
Initiative Programme and contributed to two forthcoming publications associated
with this programme. His area of speciality is refugees and children in
situations of armed conflict.,
Roselyn G. Dete, who holds a Master’s degree in health services
administration from the University of Hull, England. She worked extensively
within the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare of the Government of Zimbabwe
before being promoted to the position of Assistant Secretary in the same
Ministry, as deputy to the late Mrs Elizabeth Musarurwa in the National
Plan of Action for Children.
Linda Dube, who was the National Coordinator of the Zimbabwe
Country Case Study, graduated in sociology from the University of Zimbabwe
where he is currently completing his DPhil studies. Linda worked for more
than six years in Streets Ahead, a Harare-based programme for street children.
His area of speciality is the study of child exploitation and he has contributed
several articles to academic journals on this topic.
Joshua Kembo, who holds a BA in sociology and Masters degree
in population studies from the University of Zimbabwe. He was employed
by the Central Statistics Office of the Government of Zimbabwe before leaving
in 1997 to join CONNECT, an organization specializing in systemic counseling
and therapy, where he works as a researcher and training officer.
Precious Moyo, is a graduate sociologist from the University
of Zimbabwe. She has participated in numerous research projects on education,
gender and development and specializes in environmental management, in
which she tries to mainstream children’s rights issues.
Ratizai Sharon Nkomo, who joined the Country Case Study Team
immediately after completing her BA degree in psychology at the University
Throughout the course of the Country Case Study, the team was supported
both practically and financially by Redd Barna – Zimbabwe and the authors
would like to thank all the staff of Redd Barna for sustaining them as
colleagues and as friends.
The Country Case Study Team was also supported in the intellectual process
by feedback, comments and advice from an able and committed National Advisory
Committee, representing prominent organizations and academics in the field
of children’s welfare and children’s rights. This Committee was chaired
by Dr Sally Niyandiya-Bundy, of the Department of Psychology in the University
of Zimbabwe, and the Deputy Chair was Mrs Emma Gweshe, from the Zimbabwe
Council for the Welfare of Children. UNICEF Zimbabwe and Save the Children
UK in Zimbabwe, were prominent among other organizations taking an active
part in the process. During workshops to develop the ideas and the protocol,
the team also benefited from the presence of Mrs Patricia Phiri, Redd Barna
Zimbabwe; the late Mrs Elizabeth Musarurwa; Mrs Charity Manyau, Save the
Children UK; Mrs Matondo, Department of Social Welfare; Mrs Mutiti, City
Health Department, Harare City Council; Mrs Effie Malianga, UNICEF-Zimbabwe;
Mrs Westfall; Mrs Rukobo, Department of Social Welfare, Marondera; Dr Tom
Chaita, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare; Mr Washington Mapeta, Central
Statistical Office; Mrs Keogh, Department of Statistics, University of
Zimbabwe; Mr K. Ndemera, Plan International (Zimbabwe); Stella Maravanyika,
Avenues Early Education & Care Project; Mr Manduvi-Moyo, Ministry of
Education; Mr Nigel Hall, School of Social Work; Belta Matselele, Department
of Housing and Community Services, City of Harare; Mrs Kanyowa, School
of Social Work; Professor Welshman Ncube, Department of Law, University
of Zimbabwe; Professor Michael Bourdillon, Department of Sociology, University
of Zimbabwe; Mr Brian Raftopoulos, Institute of Development Studies; Mr
Dennis Mudede, CONNECT; Mr Winston Hilliard, CONNECT; Mr Bob Bundy, Department
of Psychology, University of Zimbabwe.
The team is also grateful to the people of Mudzi District especially
the members of the Mudzi District Children’s Rights Committee.