OUR WORK IN ZIMBABWE

14.2 M

HARARE

22 B

The name “Zimbabwe” stems from a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe, an ancient city in the country’s south-east whose remains are now a protected site. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most common.
Nhaka Foundation began its operations in Zimbabwe in 2008. For the past 12 years Nhaka Foundation has developed and implemented a series of interventions designed to bridge the gap between the government’s capabilities and policies mandating the requirement for early childhood development (ECD) programming in primary schools and its ability to fully realize the implementation of such programs. Along with its partners, Nhaka Foundation has provided access to education, basic health care and daily sustenance for orphaned and vulnerable children in the communities it serves. It has provided aid and support to ensure the creation of a physical environment conducive to learning, growth and the optimal development of all children.

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT & PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Nhaka Foundation partners with rural area primary schools and the parents and caregivers to create Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centers through the renovation of dilapidated classrooms. The classroom floors, windows, doors and roofs are repaired or replaced, and a fresh coat of paint is applied inside and out. Each Center has its own unique personality as the exteriors are then finished with hand-painted, age-appropriate drawings by local artists.

 

As a part of the renovations program team Nhaka works with the families and members of the community to plan and build, expand or repair the playgrounds and equipment using readily available and safe materials.

 

Once restored to a like-new condition, the Centers are officially incorporated into the primary school system and sustained by the community through elected Pre-School Management Committees thus ensuring the children will continue to have clean and safe spaces in which to work and play.

PARENTING EDUCATION

With the support of school and community leaders Nhaka Foundation facilitates meetings with the parents and caregivers of children enrolled in the ECD Centers it serves. The meetings are designed to educate, support and engage stakeholders in finding solutions to building a better future for the children. Heavy emphasis is placed on building capacity and instilling a sense of community ownership and responsibility.

 

The meetings cover various topics to include the importance of birth registration, immunizations, health record maintenance, HIV/AIDS education and screenings, early childhood development enrollment as well as parental involvement in the education of children.

 

Nhaka’s parenting education initiative strives to provide caregivers with the information and tools needed to better look after the children in their communities and also makes available a platform for voicing concerns and obtaining support from the school, the community, and the government.

TEACHER TRAINING

Nhaka Foundation works with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) to facilitate the on-going training and development of the ECD teachers working in the Centers its serves. On a rotating basis, team Nhaka members accompany District Trainers to the field to monitor and evaluate teacher performance.

 

Each teacher is observed at work, given an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns, and provided feedback for improvement. Following the classroom observations, the trainers craft and submit written reports that are shared with MoSPE and Nhaka Foundation.

 

The program aims to support all stakeholders by providing the teachers with increased skills and tools and at the same time promote a cooperative environment to share information and resources, one that will result in a quality education for, and meet the developmental needs of, the children.

FEEDING PROGRAM

In response to the needs of the rural communities and the children it serves, Nhaka Foundation developed an in-school feeding program to address one of the biggest challenges faced each day in, and out, of the classroom-hunger. A great many children come to school with empty stomachs making it impossible for them to concentrate or fully participate in classroom and outdoor activities.

 

While Nhaka’s work is focused on children enrolled in ECD Centers, it simply could not ignore the remaining primary school students as the concern is pervasive. Thus, the program provides sustenance once each day in the form of a protein drink for all of the students in all of the primary schools it serves.

 

Presently, the program feeds of over 5,000 children a day across seven primary schools in collaboration with the schools and communities; food preparation and service is managed on-site by community volunteers while team Nhaka manages the logistics, training and program oversight.

HEALTH ASSESSMENTS

Nhaka Foundation partners with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, District Medical Offices and local health clinic practitioners to facilitate health assessments of the children enrolled in the ECD Centers it serves. On a rotating basis, team Nhaka members accompany nurses from the rural health clinics to each school to evaluate the most basic and immediate health concerns facing the children.

 

The assessments capture baseline information on height, weight, heart rate, immunizations, and personal hygiene as well as screen for common conditions such as ringworms, scabies, skin infections and cavities.

 

The program is designed as a starting point to address basic medical conditions and to educate parents, caregivers and the communities on infant and child health care issues and preventions.

PSYCHO SOCIAL SUPPORT

In conjunction with partners, Nhaka Foundation provides the adolescent children at the schools it serves with life skills for growth and development.

Through the program activites which are inclusive of children with disabilities, Nhaka Foundation is helping to break stigma and ensure that all children have a healthy, happy life.

Nutrition Gardens

Nhaka Foundation is dedicated to ending childhood malnutrition and hunger through supporting the establishment of nutrition gardens, providing agricultural education and community empowerment in the most vulnerable rural communities in Zimbabwe.

 

Since 2012, Nhaka Foundation has worked with schools to develop gardens that provide fresh vegetables for the feeding program. Thus the feeding program then provides nutritious and balanced meals. This helps in reducing hunger, reducing malnutrition, improving the health and improving the school attendance of children who walk long distances from home to school.