COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$7 million

Years: 2020-2022

Grant agent: UNICEF

Key documents:

The US$7 million COVID-19 grant supports:

  • continuity of learning using multiple approaches such as radio, digital platforms and print materials
  • training teachers on open and distance learning modalities to enable them to support children’s learning at home
  • preparing schools for better and safe reopening by developing guidance notes and information, education and communication materials, providing sanitation and WASH to targeted schools
  • developing a “teacher kit” with protective equipment; and providing psychosocial support to students
  • the most vulnerable children such as children in remote areas, children in special schools, girls, and disadvantaged schools.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Zimbabwe received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Education. Funds have been used for printing children’s story books and developing radio programs.

Education in Zimbabwe

The 2016-2020 Education Sector Strategic Plan (ESSP) focuses on:

  • Providing a strong legal regulatory context
  • Phasing in a new curriculum
  • Inclusive education and second chance opportunities to learn
  • Infrastructure
  • Teacher professional development
  • Building leadership and management skills at all levels
  • Evidence-based policy making.

The most recent joint sector review notes that despite some challenges, considerable efforts have gone into the implementation of the new curriculum with progress being made in all areas of access, equity and efficiency. However, challenges remain. Systematic underfunding from the late 1980s has caused the main challenge: the system is dependent on parental and community support.

Currently, parents contribute approximately 96% of the non-salary costs to education, raising equity concerns. Another challenge is the large dropout from lower secondary schools (over 20%). These challenges have caused inequity of access and low quality of education provision, particularly affecting some parts of the country and the poorer populations.

The ESSP sets out to reverse the impact on access and the quality of learning outcomes, which has resulted from the historical context and the economic crisis.

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Latest grants

Development objective: Within a comprehensive, effective and dynamic policy framework, all children, particularly the most vulnerable, access quality and relevant learning
Allocation: US$42,200,000
Years: 2016-2022
Grant agent: UNICEF
Utilization: US$36,540,229

In December 2016, the GPE Board approved the fixed part of the grant or US$20.58 million, which became effective in January 2017. In August 2018, the GPE Board approved a US$8.82 million grant for the variable part, as well as US$10 million Multiplier grant.

US$50.5 million has been leveraged in additional financing to the sector through the Multiplier. The ratio of funding mobilized from the Multiplier is 5:1, exceeding the 3:1 co-financing requirement.

The US$20.58 million GPE grant finances GPE 2, a three-year program that aims to increase the number of children successfully completing basic education. The program has 5 components:

  1. Provide a strong policy, legal and regulatory framework
  2. Curricula roll-out
  3. Improved equity and access
  4. Institutional strengthening
  5. Sector monitoring

The US$8.82 million grant will finance 5 programs that are aligned to the education sector plan.

The US$10 million Multiplier grant will be allocated to 1,000 schools as part of Zimbabwe's School IMprovement Grant to finance expenditures to complete classrooms and equip the learning environment so that the new curriculum can be delivered effectively.

The equity dimension of the variable part aims to revise the education act, a tool to make schooling more attractive. Also, the school improvement grant, which will be released under this component, will improve equity as it targets the most disadvantaged schools. 

The efficiency dimension aims to increase the female survival rate to improve student flow efficiency in the education system. In addition, it seeks to incentivize a timelier release of EMIS data, so that it can strengthen the evidence base for key decisions affecting the sector.

The learning dimension aims to improve performance in mathematics by providing in-service training for 12,000 teachers and delivering a package of documents related to the curriculum framework to all schools.

In June 2020, the country received an accelerated grant of US$2.34 million. The program supported by this funding is aligned to the Zimbabwe’s humanitarian response plan 2020, which targets “residual humanitarian assistance for people affected by Cyclone Idai in March 2019”.

This additional funding aims to increase equity, gender equality and inclusion for over 54,000 marginalized and disadvantaged early childhood and primary school girls and boys in the six cyclone-affected target districts (Buhera, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutare, Bikita and Zaka districts).

The program has three objectives:

  1. Ensuring access to safe, quality, and inclusive education for children by:
    • ensuring schools have safe, disability friendly and gender sensitive infrastructure via distribution of block grants
    • providing all schools with “school in a box” kits
    • providing training to gender and safeguarding focal points on child protection and gender-based violence in 139 schools- supporting school feeding programs.
  2. Strengthening children, teachers, and the surrounding community’s gender-sensitive and inclusive disaster resilience
  3. Ensuring that the ministry of education and the education cluster have quality mechanisms in place to support and deliver quality inclusive and uninterrupted education during future emergencies.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
Accelerated funding 2020-2021 2,340,000 2,321,743 Save the Children UK  
COVID-19 2020-2022 7,000,000 5,263,010 UNICEF  
Program implementation and Multiplier 2016-2022 42,200,000 36,540,229 UNICEF  
Program implementation 2014-2016 23,600,000 23,600,000 UNICEF Completion report
Sector plan development 2012-2013 239,540 239,540 WB  
System capacity 2021-2024 344,005 0 UNICEF  
  Total 75,723,545 67,964,522    
Data last updated: March 17, 2023

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting:

  • The Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) for the 2019-2021 period. This builds on 11 years of Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) support to national education coalitions for their engagement in education sector policy dialogue.
  • Zimbabwe Network of Early Childhood Development to mobilize an advocacy alliance across multiple partner countries, including Senegal, for the 2021-2023 period.

GPE had provided the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) with a grant from the CSEF to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Last updated September 12, 2021