ECT is a non-profit organization registered in Zimbabwe under the Companies & Association Trustee Act (Chapter 24:04). Its main area of operation is child protection, specifically focusing on orphan and vulnerable children (OVC). Major organizational activities for the last quarter vary from child sponsorship, advocacy engagements, COVID-19 awareness and food hamper donation distributions for poverty alleviation.
Highlights of achievement
Notwithstanding environmental turbulences which implicated on operational efficiency and effectiveness, the organization has had some modicum of achievements during this last quarter in its endeavors towards fulfilling its operational mandate of transforming lives by alleviating poverty, vulnerability and suffering among OVCs. This has largely been achieved through delivering an equitable and essential educational, health, psychological and emotional services to orphan and vulnerable children in Epworth and Caledonia communities. The major thrust is to create an enabling environment conducive for peace, survival, growth and development for the vulnerable children so that they be exposed to equal life opportunities. In our efforts towards that, we engage for policy advocacy in a bid to advocate against practices that predisposes children to violence and towards implementation of protective policies for child sexual abuse and child marriages.
Hereunder are the highlights of our achievements for the last quarter.
For this reporting period, Esteemed Children Trust has successfully been involved in meetings, conferences and workshops, both online and some physical for advocacy through stakeholder engagement within the sector of child protection. Apart from online workshops, the organization through the Programs Manager attended the third quarter Child Rights Coalition meeting for Harare chapter in September and Child Rights Coalition cluster engagement with the Parliamentary caucus on budget towards the formulation of the 2022 National Budget. The intention was to lobby for a child focused and friendly National Budget that reflects government commitment to both national, regional and international obligations concerning child rights and child protection.
Junior Parliamentarian arguing during 2022 National Budget consultative meeting
Civil Society delegates during the National Budget consultative meeting
The leader (Honorable Nyashanu) of the Parliamentary caucus on children presenting during the National Budget consultative meeting.
ECT Programs Manager presenting Child Protection Cluster position paper during the consultative meeting
Due to Covid-19, there has not been much of children’s activities during this last quarter other than partaking in the food hamper distribution activities. This has been much attributed to the infectious rate of Covid-19 second and third wave caused mostly by the delta and beta variants. To that end, interfaces with children and or general gatherings were absolutely prohibited by the government in a bid to control the spread of such highly infectious variants.
Poverty and hunger alleviation
COVID-19 has invariably resulted into induced poverty and hunger, worsening an already dire situation, especially among Orphan and vulnerable groups. This was because government had to put lockdown restrictions, barring the gathering of people and other usual money generating activities such as vending, which most of the people in urban areas are attested to. Thus, most people especially OVCs were left thoughtless on adventures and or ways to fend for themselves. Therefore, as a measure to respond to a growing poverty and hunger, the organization extended food hamper groceries sought from different donors, who coalesced together to make an impactful contribution towards poverty alleviation. The major thrust was aimed at extending a wider safety and cushion net to communities as the effects of COVID-19 were far reaching, dire, devastating and very swift in destabilizing the moral fiber within communities, forcing parents and children into acts of prostitution and increasing child marriages, one amongst fundamental violence against children. As a result, more than fifty families taking care of OVCs benefited from these donations during the last quarter up to September 2021. Various organizations came on board to extend donations including Pomona Farmers Market, Young Hearts Foundation and ROPKA Support Network Zimbabwe among others. Such donations distribution to the communities has proved decisive in cushioning some families amongst the most vulnerable from the Covid-19 induced effects of poverty and hunger.
Childrens after receiving their hampers.
Child sponsorship is one amongst many ECT programming activities that are yielding transformational results among OVCs within our operational areas of Maseko and Caledonia. The program started in October 2020 as a pilot and was later rolled out in January 2021 as a successful program. Amongst many achievements, the program managed to take out and transform a family that was deep rooted in abject poverty, staying in one of the most dilapidated shacks, kids not going to school and not having a decent meal altogether. However, due to the program, the family is happily transformed, the kids are attending a nice government school, and staying at a modesty place. As a result of those achievements, the organization had another sponsor from the United Kingdom joining the program. Currently, she has begun sponsoring a kid in Epworth Maseko, and we are hoping to rope in many willing sponsors that are passionate about transforming the lives of orphan and vulnerable children within the communities of Zimbabwe.
Children in the sponsorship program.
Currently, ECT is not doing any sustainable projects under their operations. However, as we have indicated previously that given an opportunity the organization would undertake the adventure, especially poultry and piggery projects and or any other projects that will be on offer.
There are quite a number of challenges bedeviling the organization varying from limited fiscal legroom, pertinent personnel and skill shortages and admin and operational challenges (including transport for food distribution). These challenges are still haunting the organization. Most importantly, the situation has been made worse due to incessant waves of the highly infectious Covid-19 virus coming one after another posing far reaching endemic and serious operational challenges.
The only possible solution for the organization is to embark on offensive strategies of continued resource mobilization, either through soliciting for willing donations and or sustainable projects venture. During the board meeting session held on the 5th of December 2020, for its last quarter of the year, the organization adopted a radical marketing and fundraising roadmap, suggested by the Marketing and Fundraising board sub-committee, which will ensure sound publicity and drastic resource mobilization on both small to large scales. This strategy is promising given the time period it has been operationalized. We have had quite a number of committed monthly donors, donating through PayPal. However, the organization is in the process of opening a community bank account in the United Kingdom so as to widen the catching net for resources.
Covid-19 has brought about untold suffering to the general populace and economic hardships due to lockdowns. Many individuals have lost their jobs and companies grounded. With the recent relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions, many are still dusting up and trying to stand again from their fall and the many companies are still nursing in trying to recover from the bruises caused by COVID-19. In such situations, expecting meaningful donations may be a difficult proposition. However, the only way the organisation may bail out itself is by venturing into sustainable projects. If given an opportunity the organization would be happy to venture into poultry such as broilers, layers, roadrunners and or piggery projects.
ECT is very much grateful for the progress recorded this far pertaining to programming of this invaluable charity work over this 2021 period. It is our belief as ECT, given the current drive with which the organization is moving, that we are bounding for the achievement of the ultimate vision of the organization. As we are going into another lap treading this road this coming quarter and into 2022, we are anticipating greater prospects of transformation into another trajectory.