Women and children are facing access challenges because of cost of transportation in urban areas, lack of public transport in rural areas, access fees for certain medication such as antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), stigma and teasing at roadblocks, especially for sensitive services such as post-rape care.
There is a need for advocacy for waiver of access fees for children, adolescents and young mothers when accessing antiretroviral medication (ARVs).
Since January 2020, 25,179 children, including 898 children with disabilities (46 per cent boys and 54 per cent girls) have beneﬁtted from structured child protection and psychosocial activities. Child Protection Society (CPS) working with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare (MoPSLSW) has provided tracing and reuniﬁcation services to 365 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) with 156 children who were previously living on the streets and 121 children referred by DSW from quarantine facilities at the borders being reuniﬁed. During the reporting period 4 male children including 3 who were previously living on the streets were reunified.
In response to challenges faced by SGBV survivors who encounter difficulties while passing through police roadblocks to get to court, a meeting was held with the Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) and stakeholders who raised this issue with the Superintendent. Numbers to provincial police offices that can be called should any stakeholder or their client have difficulties passing through roadblocks were shared and this will help ensure that children, adolescents and women including persons with special needs can continue accessing services.
Approximately 24 of the targeted 80 residential volunteer social workers will be deployed to compliment the ongoing work by the MoPSLSW social workers at the border quarantine facilities.
A training on minimum standards on Child Protection in emergencies was conducted for CPWG partners on 5 and 9 June with 30 participants.
UNICEF in collaboration with UN agencies supported the POE ToT training facilitated by the MoHCC and MoPSLSW at Mazowe on the 18 and 19 June, through preparation materials on PSS support in quarantine centres including self-care and stress management and specific vulnerabilities of children, pregnant women and persons with disabilities. The ToT participants included three cadres from MOH, DSW and Security at the provincial level, with the training to be cascaded down to the district level.
REPSSI radio broadcasts on ZFM aiming at strengthening psycho-social support in communities in Zimbabwe’s complex emergency environment, including drought- and flood-affected communities, included topics on COVID-19 and young people living with HIV, positive masculinity in a time of COVID-19 and MHPSS needs of children with an estimated reach of 300,000 listeners.
To ensure support to women and children who fail to reach protection services, including post-rape care, legal aid and mental health and psychosocial support due to the lockdown and transportation challenges, child protection partners are providing transportation including supporting the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) with additional vehicles to facilitate the movement of clients.
Under the leadership of the MoHCC and supported by UN agencies in the Case Management Pillar, guidelines for MHPSS are being developed with UNICEF technical inputs.
Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) messaging are integrating mental health and psychosocial support, GBV response awareness, child online safety during lockdown and parenting advise, with online trainings on MHPSS made available to CPWG members including psychosocial ﬁrst aid and basic PSS.
While the access letters from the MoPSLSW have facilitated the continuity of provision of essential services by child protection partners it has been reported that some children are still having challenges in accessing these services due to misconceptions in communities that health centres are only providing COVID-19 related services
There is a lack of COVID-19 related information in accessible formats for persons with disabilities, especially for the deaf and hard of hearing, and the blind or partially blind people.
Challenges in reuniﬁcation of children in conﬂict with the law who have been released, children under age 5 who are being abandoned and street children because of diﬃculties in ﬁnding their legal guardians. There is a risk that the current crisis and its economic impact leads to abandonment of vulnerable children.
Need to strengthen coordination efforts among actors at border quarantine and in-country isolation facilities to ensure reception centres are well equipped with IEC and PSS materials and services, food and more hygiene materials in addition to provision of training to front line workers who are interacting with children to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills related to GBV and CP risk mitigation, Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), child safeguarding, and safe referral practice.
Quarantine facilities, residential care centres and other places of safety where children who were previously living on the streets and children returning from Botswana and South Africa have been placed, lack the bare minimum of basic services to maintain adequate personal hygiene, recreation and services to care for them.