By Farai Dauramanzi
The Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC), National Association of Youth Organisations (NAYO) and the Harare City Junior Council (HCJC) on Tuesday 21 October 2014 presented budget submissions at Town House that were gathered from children in five provinces of the country.
The child friendly budgeting submissions research was done by the three youth organisations to seek children’s perspectives on priority areas they would require to be covered in the 2015 national budget. According to the research, children’s participation is about children having the opportunity to express a view, influence decision making and achieve change.
“The research was conducted in five of the ten provinces of Zimbabwe and endeavours to ensure the participation of children in marginalised and remote provinces and communities as it has an urban and rural depth,” reads part of the executive summary of the report.
The research was conducted in Harare Metropolitan, Matebeleland South, Matebeleland North, Manicaland and Bulawayo Metropolitan provinces through the use of questionnaires. According to the research, children in Zimbabwe had various priorities they need to be addressed in the 2015 national budget such as birth registration, environmental health, education, road safety and social protection.
The provision of orphanages for orphaned and vulnerable children proved as the main priority under social protection as highlighted by 34.2 % of the 3013 participants. The care for street children accounted for 29.3% with grants for vulnerable children accounting for 21%. The remaining 15.5% placed social protection priority on supplementary feeding for children in difficult circumstances.
In terms of education, the research shows that overall provision of school fees assistance for children in difficult circumstances is a priority as indicated by 44.5% of the participants. 30.5% of the participants placed priority on reducing the student-textbook ratio in schools. 14.1% of the participants prioritised the reduction of teacher to student ratio with 10.9% in support of providing supplementary feeding to students in schools.
Under health provisions, 36.5% of the participants indicated that the provision of Anti-Retroviral-Therapy (ART) for children living with HIV/AIDS was the children’s main priority in their 2015 national budget submissions. 28.1% called for the prioritisation of making medication available. The accessibility of health services to children living with disability was prioritised by 17.5% of the participants.
Children also spoke on what they would need improved in terms of environmental health issues. 32.3% of participants placed more priority on the accessibility of water and an improvement in water facilities. The improvement of sewage systems was a priority to 26.7% of the participants while 21.8% placed priority on having clean streets. 19.2% of the participants placed priority on the provision of electricity.
Road safety was another priority area that was looked at by the research. 39.9% of the children who participated placed priority on the repair of roads with 32% advocating for safer public transport. Pedestrian friendly roads were a priority of 28.1% of the participants.
Lastly, the research also looked at the issue of the acquisition of birth certificates. 54.5% of the participants placed priority on free birth certificate registration for all children while 45.5% placed priority on having easy and hustle free birth registration.
The researchers said that the report can become a source of information that can be used for programming and intervention strategies for critical areas of need.
“These strategies can be at national, local and institutional level with each focusing on its location of influence. The results in this report basically give a bird’s eye view of what children think are their main areas of critical immediate attention from the national fiscus,” reads the conclusion of the report.