BEAM receives $10m from UK

The UK, through the Department for International Development (DFID), has availed $10 million that will keep over 250,000 vulnerable children in primary school under the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM).

Jane Rintoul
Jane Rintoul

The British government, in a statement, announced that the disbursement would help orphans and vulnerable children with tuition and examination fees in 5,415 primary and special needs schools across the country.

"The funding will contribute to higher attendance and completion rates among orphans and vulnerable children," said the statement.

The government applied for continued DFID funding on January 13 this year, a day before school opened, offsetting fears that the poor children might fail to receive BEAM support in 2014.

During 2012-2013 period, DFID provided $27 million under BEAM, a programme that is jointly run with the government, with technical support from Unicef, as part of the National Action Plan for orphans and vulnerable children that are estimated at more than a million.

The Head of the DFID office in Zimbabwe, Jane Rintoul, said: "The UK is very pleased to be able to provide this additional support which I know will make a huge difference to the lives of the children who will benefit along with their families and wider communities."

The UK funding partner welcomed Zimbabwe's decision to freeze fee increases in 2014 saying, if enforced, it would help reduce falls in the number of children supported under BEAM.

"DFID also encourages the Government of Zimbabwe to redouble its efforts to find additional funding sources for BEAM given that this is likely to be the UK's final contribution to the BEAM programme," said the funder.

The $10 million fund will be managed by the UK-based Crown Agents that will work together with the ministries of Labour and Social welfare as well as that of Primary and Secondary Education.

The UK government hopes to invest about $650 million in the next four years to improve services in health, education, water and sanitation, with the education sector alone set to receive $100 million.

In spite of the grant from DFID, thousands of vulnerable children in secondary school are yet to receive financial support at a time the government is struggling to revive the economy and fund numerous public programmes.

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