Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 provides for Quality Education and highlights the importance of acquiring quality education as the foundation for improving people’s lives and sustainable development. Added to this, education is a universal right that must be accorded to every child. Section 75 of the constitution also provides for the right to education.
It is against this background on the need to ensure that children have a safe learning environment that a Social Accountability Team (SAT) established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe conducted a feedback dialogue meeting in Tsholotsho on 26 November 2020. The objectives of the dialogue meeting were to give feedback to community members of cost breakdown on expenses on the construction of toilets at a local school as well as appraise community members on other issues of concern at the school. The dialogue meeting was attended by School Development Committee (SDC) members, School headmaster and Traditional leaders (mostly village heads). As part of feedback, the SDC committee reported that community members paid a total of 770 ZAR while the school donated 5 bags towards the construction of toilets at the school. The need for toilets came after toilets at the school had been destroyed during a storm.
Issues that came out during the dialogue meeting include the COVID 19 pandemic that has affected normal classes and greatly dealt a heavy blow on access to quality education. Community members also reported that there was also a decline in Diaspora remittances since neighbouring countries that employ majority of people in Tsholotsho were also under COVID 19 lockdowns. In the absence of remittances, communities are now relying on aid mostly from the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare which however is failing to meet the rising demand. The dialogue meeting resolved that there was need to build other toilets for teachers. As way forwad, the dialogue meeting tasked the SAT to engage the District Education Officer and other stakeholders such as the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) to make contributions towards construction of more toilets at the school so as to create a safe learning environment for children.
The Social Accountability dialogues are part of Heal Zimbabwe’s initiative that seeks to bring the voices of citizens into governance, enabling citizens to monitor and provide feedback on the delivery of services, and helping to build trust between citizens and duty bearers.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe Trust