Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC)

Regions: Zimbabwe

ZNCWC was established in 1968 in response to the growing number of children who were living in difficult circumstances. ZNCWC is the umbrella body for child rights sector that seeks to coordinate the child rights sector in Zimbabwe. Its major thrust is lobbying and advocacay, capacity building of membership, quality assurance on child oriented initiatives, child participation and research.  ZNCWC works with organizations that are in the child rights sector and currently our membership stands at 150 organisations. These organizations are all at different levels. Some are emerging; others are well established while some are still grappling with issues of registration. The organization seeks to bring into mainstream all the institutions working in the child rights sector for effective collaboration and complementarity.


  1. ZNCWC has Observer Status to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  2. Focal point for the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for Civil Society in Zimbabwe
  3. Member of the Child Rights Network of Southern Africa
  4. Focal point for Civil Society on SADC Minimum Package of Services for OVCs and Youth
  5. Sits on the PVO Board ( Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare)
  6. Appointed by Department of Social Services to the Management Committee of Children on the Streets Fund
  7. Advises the Government of Zimbabwe on State Party Reporting to the UNCRC and African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
  8. Coordinates the Child Rights Coalition in Zimbabwe
  9. Member of the Southern Africa Network on Statelessness

Our Partnerships and Work

  1. Save the Children – Zimbabwe

In 2011 ZNCWC partnered with Save the Children Zimbabwe (SCZ) to implement a project titled Child Rights Governance. The main aim of this partnership was to write the Civil Society Supplementary Report to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Civil Society Complementary report to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) Supplementary Reports. The project also allows for the implementation of advocacy related activities at national and local level. The project saw more than 100 civil society members across the child rights sector and more than 200 children being reached directly in order to contribute to the writing of the UNCRC Supplementary report which was submitted in 2014 and presented by ZNCWC before the UNCRC Committee in June 2015.

In 2011, SCZ disbursed funds to ZNCWC for the coordination of the recommendations for the Committee on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). To that effect a child rights sector UPR report was developed and sent to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. SCZ has continued to support ZNCWC in activities such as capacity building of members on children’s rights, emergency response for Towke Mukosi victims, march against child sexual abuse, advocacy training of junior parliamentarians and junior councilors, commemorations of the key child rights days and conducting research on the state of children’s rights and other key topical child rights issues. SCZ also supports ZNCWC in participating in the Committee of Experts on Children’s Rights Southern Africa (CRNSA) of which ZNCWC was the chair for the past three years.

NB: SAVE the Children continues to support ZNCWC in compiling Complementary reports to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

  1. Terre des Hommes Germany

Through the support of Terre des Hommes (TDH) Germany, Zimbabwe published its first ever child rights audit report. The process of developing an audit report was motivated by the need to review the outcome of ratifying the UNCRC. Although Zimbabwe’s efforts to promote children’s rights are commendable there was need to look into how children’s rights have been protected and promoted. This meant promoting child participation in issues that concern them so that they can be part of the process of protecting and promoting their rights. Moreover ZNCWC realized that children had not been given the platform to air their views and speak out on their issues, thus in the audit report children participated. The audit report also gave our members the platform to engage, review and document what had been done from 1996 to 2011 in terms of children’s rights. A total of 107 child representatives were reached directly who in turn also consulted at least 10 children each in their respective constituencies.

To keep the children participating, TDH is currently funding another project titled Child Driven Rights Advocacy, which focuses mainly on child friendly budgeting. This project further builds on the child rights audit report mentioned above. ZNCWC believes there is room for strengthening child rights delivery mechanisms in Zimbabwe. The attainment of children’s rights incurs costs and as such national and local budgets are one of these mechanisms that can be used to achieve the ideal state of child rights. Since the project is a pilot, our facilitators train and build the capacity of junior councilors and civil society organisations in Harare and Bulawayo only. At the end of this pilot we hope to rope in the support from other partners and organisations so that we can target major councils across the country.

To date the project has facilitated:

  • A baseline survey on children’s rights with parliamentarians
  • Capacity building for junior councilors and civil society organisations in Harare and Bulawayo
  • Trained junior councilors in Harare and Bulawayo on child rights, leadership and advocacy
  • Engagement with Ministry of Finance, the Portfolio Committee on Education (Education Financing Position Paper) and City Council (Education Development Plan)
  • Workshops with media on child friendly reporting and creating awareness about child friendly budgeting
  • Media monitoring of children’s stories and resulted in the well attended ‘Zero Tolerance March Against Child Sexual Abuse’ which caught the attention of ZRP as they also marched against child sexual abuse.
  • The 2015 Children’s National Budget Consultations currently being facilitated in partnership with Harare Junior City Council and National Association of Youth Organisations.
  • The idea to conduct research on sustainable revenue collection research.

NB: TDH is currently funding ZNCWC in implementing the Child Participation and Child Friendly Budgeting project working with the Harare and Bulawayo City Junior Councillors and Junior Parliamentarians. The project is advocating for increased budget allocation to Junior Councils by the Senior Councils of Harare and Bulawayo. The project will end in 2018.

  1. Progressio

In 2011, ZNCWC also partnered with Progressio and a number of local NGOs under the Comic Relief project ‘Hear our Voices’. In this project, ZNCWC was building the capacity of child rights organizations on child friendly HIV/AIDS programming and rights based approaches to programming. Furthermore, the project also trained junior parliamentarians on advocacy and facilitated their engagement with policy makers. The major output of the project was to produce a manual for child friendly HIV/AIDS programming for child rights organizations, which is still in the draft stages. Up to date, the project has reached about 400 junior parliamentarians and 100 organizations in the child rights sector.

In 2013, ZNCWC and Progressio launched a project for developing the advocacy strategy for child rights sector. The main purpose of this strategy paper is to provide strategies, in which child rights organisations can advocate and lobby policy makers to ensure that the rights of children are protected, promoted and respected. The main priority areas focus on:

  • Access to quality health care for children
  • Access to quality education
  • Child protection

Strategies for achieving these priority areas are firstly to conduct research by continuously collaborating with government. Secondly focusing on national and local budgets as a tool to drive forward the main priority areas. Thirdly legislative and policy reform is also imperative in achieving the priority areas. In the document child rights organizations are encouraged to lobby the government to review its policies so that they are in line with the provisions of the new constitution.

NB: Progressio is currently funding ZNCWC in implementing the Amplifying the voices of people affected and infected by HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. The project is aimed at advocating for increased access to Paedriatic ART, and influencing policy changes and supporting the Junior Councillors and Parliamentarians in advocating for Children’s Rights. The project started in 2015 and will end in 2017.

  1. ICCO

In 2012, ZNCWC partnered with ICCO for a National Child Rights Advocacy Project. In seeking to coordinate this sector, one key challenge that has been apparent has been fragmentation. The organizations in the child rights sector did not have agreed priorities for advocacy or programming as a result, this weakened all advocacy efforts of the sector. Each organization would take up its advocacy issues to policy makers with little or no result. The advocacy barrenness of the sector can be attested by the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) when Zimbabwe submitted its initial report in 1995. Most of the recommendations that came from the committee of experts were not addressed. This is despite all the efforts that were being done by more than 200 organizations working in children’s issues.

Phase 1 (2012 – 2013) of the project saw ZNCWC together with ICCO and Progressio leading developing the Child Rights Sector Advocacy Strategy mentioned above. In this phase of the project a Child Rights Advocacy Reference Group (CRARG) was established and its members are experts from different fields that feed into the advocacy of children’s rights. Members of the CRARG play a critical role in developing advocacy tools that will aid the sector in profiling the state of children’s rights and possible improvement of strategies.

Phase 2 (2013 – 2014) sought support from ICCO to materialize the advocacy strategy by focusing on documenting the advocacy issues of the child rights sector. In this phase ZNCWC is opening lines of communication with the new parliament, particularly parliamentary portfolio committees that have relevance to children’s issues. The project will make sure that this platform has interface with groups of children living in contexts of vulnerabilities so that the legislature is exposed to the plight of children in Zimbabwe.

NB: ICCO is currently supporting ZNCWC in implementing the Stop Child Labour Project which is aimed at creating Child Labour Free Zones in Chipinge and influencing Policy changes at National level through the engagement of all policy makers and relevant stakeholders. The project started in 2015 and will end in 2017.      

  1. Zimbabwe Institute

In 2011, ZNCWC participated in the development of the child rights sector position paper for the new constitution draft. In this project, ZNCWC worked with Zimbabwe Institute. Although the project budget line was exhausted, the project continued monitoring the draft constitution.

  1. UNICEF and Department of Social Services

Between 2007 and 2010, ZNCWC in collaboration with UNICEF, the Department of Social Services and residential childcare institutions across Zimbabwe, facilitated the development of the National Residential Child Care Standards (NRCCS). The standards regulate how children are taken care of in the institutions. Furthermore under the National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children 1 (NAP for OVC 1), ZNCWC, UNICEF and the Department of Social Services worked on reunification and community reintegration of children in residential care institutions. This project identified children that have traceable relatives but were living in residential care institutions and other places of safety. The children were subsequently reunified with their relatives and further support was given to these households. The project allowed 527 children to be reunified with their families.

  1. Canadian Embassy

ZNCWC had an opportunity to sub grant under the Canadian Embassy. In this project, ZNCWC had to ensure that Mbuya Nehanda Children’s Home, an institution with 181 children, had sustainable livelihoods projects that ensured food security for the children. Accordingly ZNCWC facilitated the drilling of boreholes and the revival of gardens for vegetables.

  1. Plan International

Plan assisted ZNCWC to write the Civil Society Supplementary Report to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and Civil Society Complementary report to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) Supplementary Reports. Plan continues to support ZNCWC in implementing Child Rights Governance projects

  1. SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe

SOS has been supporting ZNCWC with children’s participation in writing the Children’s Complementary Report to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. SOS also supported ZNCWC in hosting the first African Committee of Experts Conference on Civil Society and State Party Reporting to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 2015.