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Zimbabwe ranks lowly on human development: Unicef



ZIMBABWE ranks 146 out of a total of 191 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI), while 61% of children are wallowing in grinding multidimensional poverty, especially worse in rural areas, high-density and peri-urban informal settlements, Unicef Zimbabwe’s 2023 annual report says.

The situation is worse for those living with disabilities.

Unicef’s evidence-based advocacy in 2023, through budget briefs, quarterly economic bulletins, and two High-Level Policy Dialogues on Education Financing and on HIV Sustainability Financing co-convened with the Zimbabwe Economic Society (ZES), contributed to the increased share of public allocation on health, education, and non-contributory social protection from 29% (2023) to 30.4% (2024) in the national budget.

In 2023 health sector allocation was 11.2%, below the 15% Abuja Declaration target.

Education allocation was 14.9% compared to 20% Dakar framework for Action target; Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) received 1.8% and social protection 4.2%.

The support to budget transparency in collaboration with Government and other stakeholders during the 2023 Open Budget Survey (OBS) process resulted in improved Open Budget Index (OBI) score target of 61 (out of 100) in the 2023 compared to 59 in the 2021. This demonstrates improved commitment to budget transparency by the government.

Unicef in collaboration with the ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion and the German International Cooperation supported Programme-Based Budgeting training of 60 national, provincial and district officials from the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) and the ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC).

The training, together with other institutional support, contributed to improved budget utilisation rate from 52.7% to 100%, and increased the number of local governments with functioning mechanisms for local planning, budgeting and monitoring from 72 in 2022 to 92 in 2023.

The Unicef-supported Emergency Social Cash Transfer programme (ESCT) — funded by the German ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) through its financial implementing agency KfW Development Bank — reached 143 000 people, including 73 103 children, in nine districts.

The coverage included 81 200 individuals (38 000 children), across 18 173 households in six urban districts who were transitioned to the government’s social protection programme, and 18 600 households newly enrolled in five rural districts, amongst whom 61 840 individuals (31103 are children) received cash assistance.

The data repository portal developed by the Zimbabwe’s National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) and Unicef has improved public access to 150 child-related indicators and data and influenced secondary analysis, advocacy, and policymaking. Support to ZimStat resulted in the generation of district profiles, analysis of monetary and multidimensional child poverty using the 2022 census data, as evidence to influence the government’s agenda for children. Partnerships with the academia generated new evidence on child rights, instructional learning, and behaviour change.

In 2023, Unicef completed nine research studies to advocate for policy changes and programme interventions for children and women, and to guide its work and partners.

Unicef’s advocacy efforts led to policy and legislative reforms on child protection with the passage of the amendment to the Children’s Bill and the child justice Bill by the Parliament.

Likewise, innovative community-based approaches to civil registration to improve coverage of birth registration were introduced, while national efforts for the identification and reunification of unaccompanied children with their families were supported.  — STAFF WRITER.

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