THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Remarks by Dr. Festo P. Kavishe at the official opening of the UNICEF Collection and the Launch of Women and Children's Rights in Zimbabwe
United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)
November 11, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen

Launch  of the Women and Children’s Rights reportOn behalf of UNICEF, I would like to begin by saying how pleased I am to be here and how grateful we are to the University of Zimbabwe for hosting this event.

Today, we are here to celebrate the opening of the UNICEF Collection in the international section of the University Library as well as launch a new report on women and children’s rights. Both signify the importance we at UNICEF place on collaboration, especially with academic and research institutes to further a better understanding of the situation of women and children. There is no doubt that UNICEF would not be the global organization it is to day, and have the credibility it does, if it had not been able to partner and rely on the intellectual and evidence based research done at places like the University of Zimbabwe.

We realize more and more that the world is a complicated place and the impact on women and children, is in turn, no less complicated. To actually be able to advocate effectively, programme productively, and produce tangible and measured results to improve their overall well-being, requires an investment of time, research and knowledge that is the foundation of academic learning.

For many years, UNICEF and the University of Zimbabwe have collaborated. Different faculties from the Law Faculty to the Institute of Development Studies, to the Medical school have been crucial allies in surveys, studies and reports that have been produced to identify indicators, situation analysis and baselines, which have both fed into a global picture on the state of the world’s women and children, but also guided our work here in the country.

Today, after many years of housing a small library within the UNICEF office, we are very happy to be able to share it with a wider audience by moving it here to the University. We hope the information contained in the collection will supplement many of the materials the University already has in health, nutrition, environmental sanitation, child protection, education and HIV and AIDS. We are very grateful for the University Library staff, who have so willing to dedicated their time and energy to making order of our many hundreds of documents and compiling it into a working and useful collection. Our hope is that now students, academic staff, members of the UN agencies and partner organizations can access the collection and will find the material useful in their own research.

It also complies with the UN directive that designates the University of Zimbabwe as the UN’s official depository library. We hope, that as we are doing today, we can continue to keep the collection updated, with new reports, studies and surveys as they become available. We also hope to continue to partner with different researchers and academia within the University.

UNICEF Collection at the University of ZimbabweToday as we mark the official opening of the UNICEF Collection, we would also like to launch a new report called Children and Women’s Rights in Zimbabwe. It is a landmark study that provides a critical analysis of the theory and practice of international women and children’s conventions in the country. The report is also extremely timely as we celebrate this year, the 15th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, when 179 heads of state met at the World Summit on Children in 1989 and adopted the principles enshrined in this document, that has since become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world.

I will not go into detail but will allow my colleagues here from the Ministry of Justice, the Child and Law Foundation and the Law Faculty, who actually worked on the document to present the key findings. As the report outlines, the country’s law in the whole is in conformity with the Convention on the Rights of the child but much more needs to be done to prioritize its implementation on the ground. I hope now we can work together to follow the very clear recommendations that have been outlined to realize the rights of all women and children.

I would like to thank the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, for helping to make this research possible and their collaboration in sharing information and facilitating the process. I also want to give credit to the authors, whose hard work has produced a very valuable document. It has already begun to be used as part of a global legislative review UNICEF is undertaking, to better understand how laws and policy can better serve to protect the rights of women and children. Regionally, a similar process is underway to see not just how individual country legislation but also regional bodies such as the AU and SADC can influence the rights of women and children. Zimbabwe is far ahead of its neighbors in this analysis and the study will serve as an example to guide them in their own process.

I would like to conclude by once again thank the University of Zimbabwe, but especially the library staff, who have provided so much support in moving the library here and also for hosting this event. I would like to present them with a small token of our appreciation of some UNICEF T-shirts.

Thank you.

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.