By Nawa Mutumweno – The Netherlands has pledged to support UNICEF’s education programme in Zambia at $10 million (ZMK50 billion) up to 2013, focusing on the most vulnerable children in the country.
Harry Molenaar (Nethelands ambassador to Zambia) and Drlyorlumun Uhaa (UNICEF country representative) signed the agreement in Lusaka on Monday, Januaary 16, 2012.
The UN agency would channel the funds through direct financial and technical support to the Ministry of Education (MoE), according to a statement released by UNICEF.
Ambassador Molenaar said the programme was tailored to imporove children’s access to quality education.
“The overall goal of the programme is to contribute to the national targets of improving children’s access to equitable quality education, in line with the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP). If we are to expect Zambia’s children and adolescents to be able to develop, learn, and participate in a protective and enabling environment, it is our duty and responsibility as a partner country to double our efforts in providing the required support to help us reap these desired results,” Ambassador Molenaar pointed out.
And UNICEF country representative, Dr. Uhaa said the new investment fitted well with the overall collaboration between the Dutch government and the UN agency in many areas, both at the global and country levels.
“We are excited and looking forward to meeting the challenges and opportunities this arrangement presents to us. Under the leadership of the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ), we will implement this programme to achieve tangible and measurable results for children in the target diostricts,” said Dr. Uhaa.
The agreement comes with specific results, namely that the needs of the most vulnerable children in 16 target districts are prioritized and included in planning, management, and monitoring of education services at the district and provincial levels.
It further hopes to ensure that the needs of most vulnerable girls and boys are prioritized and included in the national education policy, strategies, planning, curriculum development, and training in child-friendly teaching and learning environment by 2013.
It is also expected that 10 000 children in the 16 target districts participate in early childhood, care, development, and education services by 2013; as well as 500 basic and community schools are provided with a child-friendly learning environment by 2013.
The programme would be implemented in low performing districts such as Lukulu, Kalabo, Shangombo, Petauke, Katete and Chama. Others are Milenge, Samfya, Chilubi, Luwingu, Mporokoso, Chiengi, Kaputa, Mbala, Mungwi and Isoka.