By Robert Tapfumaneyi
Zimbabwe’s social sector suffered greatly as a result of more than a decade of economic and political challenges making it difficult for many women and children to access basic social services such as health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene.
In a major boost to the country’s efforts to improve the lives of women and children, the Swedish government signed a grant for more than $30 million with the United Nations Children’s Fund to support the government of Zimbabwe -UNICEF new country programme 2012-2015.
The grant is expected to improve the lives of many women and children in the country through critical support to the areas of health, HIV and AIDS, education, child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene.
Speaking at the signing ceremony the acting UNICEF Country Representative Marc Rubin said: “A lot of progress has been achieved for women and children in the past three years in the country but this progress would not have been possible without the support of donors such as the government of Sweden.”
These funds are based on the Paris Declaration and allow for greater flexibility to support gap areas such as capacity building and policy reform. The money will give a significant boost to the socio-economic recovery and development of Zimbabwe.
“The government of Sweden remains very committed to improving the lives of women and children in Zimbabwe, it is particularly pleasing to note that previous support provided by the government of Sweden has made a marked difference in lives of many people,” said acting Ambassador of Sweden Magnus Carlquist.
Over the past years the government of Sweden has been unwavering in its support for the women and children in Zimbabwe and Sweden is the first country donor to provide flexible thematic funding in support of UNICEF Zimbabwe’s new country programme.
In the past five years the government of Sweden has contributed more than US $24 million, supporting HIV and AIDS programming and humanitarian response including cholera and education in emergencies.