Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
ABOUT 2,4 million children under the age of 17 years, translating to 39 percent of minors in the country, do not have birth certificates.
The statistics are contained in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development’s Zimbabwe (2016-2018) Interim Poverty Reduction strategy paper (I-PRSP).
The Ministry said available data shows that rural areas have the highest number of unrecorded births.
“Children aged between 0-17 years totalling 2,4 million had no birth certificates, constituting 38.9 percent. Rural areas had a higher proportion (45,7 percent) of children aged 0-17 years with no birth certificates compared to urban areas with 21,7 percent,” reads the document.
The Government formulated the I-PRSP to focus on specific short term measures, but with long term impact on the livelihoods of the population, targeting particularly the vulnerable segments of society.
Treasury says the I-PRSP also seeks to promote and accelerate inclusive growth and poverty reduction through improved policies, consistent with the ZimAsset’s Vision: ‘Towards an Empowered Society and a Growing Economy’.
The Treasury poverty reduction strategy paper said in 2012, the majority of orphaned children in the country were living in rural areas and the figure stood at 982 839 orphans.
“The overall orphanhood prevalence was 15.7 percent.
“Rural children were more likely to be orphaned with an overall orphanhood prevalence of 34.4 percent than urban children with 7.1 percent, suggesting the possibility of dumping of orphans in rural areas under the care of the extended family,” reads the report.
It also notes that the abuse of children was still very prevalent countrywide.
“In 2009, it was reported that 13 percent of girls report being sexually harassed by teachers and or fellow pupils, with seven percent of them reporting having been forced into sex at least once.
“Furthermore, 25 percent of boys living and working on the streets of Harare are victims of sexual abuse, and only eight percent of these boys are able to report that the perpetrator had been arrested,” says the report.