COVID-19 has exacerbated the plight of vulnerable children and their families in Zimbabwe and strained the ability of child protection system to respond to a spike in cases. Pandemic-induced lockdowns have caused multiple disruptions for many households, decimating livelihoods, increasing vulnerabilities among children, and sparking a rise in violence against children (VAC), including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Delivered in partnership with Zimbabwe’s Department of Social Development, the HPD program is strengthening Zimbabwe’s child protection systems to ensure safe identification and referral of children at risk during the pandemic and other emergencies. Across 20 districts nationwide, Bantwana is leveraging community case workers to reach vulnerable families with information and support, including referrals, food, prevention education, remote counseling. and urgent safe transportation.
Key activities include:
Training District Social Workers to provide Child Protection during Emergencies (CPiE) to address key capacity and process gaps in the national case management system (NCMS) for humanitarian situations, including coordination and referral pathways, data management and quality assurance processes.
Training Lead Community Childcare Workers (LCCWs) to enhance their role coordinating the community cadres that provide frontline child protection response, especially in humanitarian situations. LCCWs and CCWs are being trained to use mobile reporting platforms to enable continued case reporting and response, even during lockdowns.
Technical Assistance and Tools for CPiE, including guidelines, technical resources, and procedures for CPiE. Bantwana is also providing support supervision, self-care planning, mentorship and monitoring of the NCMS workforce.
Introducing a community-based Early Warning System for VAC (EWS4VAC) that involves communities in preventing and responding to VAC and SGBV. This model trains and enables community leaders and cadres to identify child protection cases early and provide them with tools to refer cases to appropriate services.