Memorandum from the British Council, Zimbabwe
1. The British Council in Zimbabwe was established
in 1980. The main directorate is in Harare and there is a Professional
Development Centre in Bulawayo, in Matabeleland.
2. Because of concerns about the safety
of staff and visitors, the main directorate in Harare was relocated
from its independent and owned building in May 2001 to the British
High Commission where it is still based.
3. Despite the deepening political, economic
and social crisis, Zimbabwe remains important to Britain and the
British Council's continuing engagement with our target groups
during these difficult times is a demonstration of Britain's commitment
to the people of Zimbabwe.
4. The objectives of the British Council
in Zimbabwe flow from and complement those of the FCO and DFID.
The overarching aim is to win recognition for the UK's values,
ideas and achievements, and nurture lasting, mutually beneficial
relationships between Zimbabwe and the UK.
5. Current programmes are focused on governance
and society, with particular emphasis on gender equity, leadership
and management skills; learning, through enabling access to British
qualifications and education, and creativity through our arts
programme which brings Zimbabwean and British artists together
to form productive relationships for mutual benefit.
6. The budget from the FCO's grant in aid
in 2002-03 is £670,000. The total country budget is £942,000.
7. The British Council's overarching aim
in Zimbabwe is to win recognition for the UK's values, ideas and
achievements, and nurture lasting, mutually beneficial relationships
between the people of Zimbabwe and the UK.
8. In the current difficult times, the British
Council's continuing presence is a clear demonstration of Britain's
commitment to the people of Zimbabwe. By positively engaging with
individuals with whom we believe the future of Zimbabwe lies,
the British Council can make a major contribution to the laying
of a solid foundation for a new relationship between the leaders
of Zimbabwe and Britain in the future.
9. The individuals we have identified as
our target audiences are principally ambitious younger Zimbabweans
in the higher education sectors, private sector and civil society
organisations who have the potential to bring about change. They
are primarily those just arrived in, or moving to, positions of
influence. We also engage with key individuals from the authority
generation who are advocates for the UK and support our engagement
with the next generation.
10. At the highest level the impact we seek
is recognition by all our target audiences that the British Council
has engaged with them in a meaningful way which addresses their
objectives, in particular those relating to enhancing skills and
learning and to strengthening democratic values and good governance.
All our activities and services are dedicated to providing a career
spanning continuity of support to them.
11. The British Council operates under a
Memorandum of Understanding between Britain and Zimbabwe dated
1980. We are currently seeking accreditation of diplomatic status
for the two new UK appointed members of staff due to take up post
12. The British Council in Harare is also
the Regional Directorate for the British Council's operations
in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. The three country operations will
increasingly work together to develop new services and joint programmes
to increase impact and reduce overhead expenditure.
13. Because of concerns over security, in
May 2001 the main Directorate in Harare relocated out of owned
independent offices into the British High Commission in space
vacated by DFID. The directorate houses a Management Development
Centre, the examinations service, the governance, information,
administration and finance teams. A casualty of the move was the
closure of the public access lending library which was a big disappointment
to many young Zimbabweans who used it as a learning resource.
The British Council has donated all of the general collection
library materials and some shelving and other furniture to the
Zimbabwe Open University, which will continue to make them publicly
14. Our operation in Bulawayo was transformed
from a library and office to a Professional Development Centre
on relocation to new premises in 2000. It is in rented accommodation.
15. The total country budget for 2002-03
is £942,000 of which £670,000 is grant in aid from the
FCO. The balance is made up of locally collected income from the
Management Development Centre in Harare and Professional Development
Centre in Bulawayo, income collected from administering examinations
and the allocation of funds from DFID for Higher Education Link
16. There are currently 29 members of staff
in Zimbabwe: four are based in Bulawayo and the remainder in Harare.
This includes two UK appointed staff, one of whom (when he takes
up post this August) will be Director for the Central Africa region
of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.
17. The British Council in Zimbabwe works
closely with the High Commission to achieve an integrated and
synergistic UK impact. The British Council's target audiences
and activities complement FCOs and DFIDs, and support the New
Partnership for Africa's Development. The British Council is also
committed to managing effectively the FCO Chevening Scholarships
scheme and DFID's Higher Education Links programme. The UK education
constituency is a major stakeholder in the examinations and education
18. The British Council's work in Zimbabwe
supports three corporate objectives:
To increase the international recognition
for the range and quality of learning opportunities from the UK,
to promote the learning of English, and strengthen educational
co-operation between the UK and other countries.
To enhance awareness of the UK's
democratic values and processes, and work in partnership with
other countries to strengthen good governance and human rights.
To build appreciation of the UK's
creativity and scientific innovation among young people overseas,
and strengthen their engagement with the diversity of UK culture.
19. The high quality and up-to-date information
resources and services in Harare and Bulawayo support the professional
standards and skills of middle and senior management cadres in
the public, private and civil society sectors. They increase access
to information; and support early and mid-career professionals
studying part-time and by distance for professional qualifications
20. The Management Centre in Harare provides
proactive research support to members and certain targeted individuals
in specialist areas, and underpins all British Council activities
in Zimbabwe with relevant and up-to-date developments in topical
and relevant subject areas. Both Centres act as examples of creativity
and best practice to the information constituency in Zimbabwe
and provide platforms for debating the global knowledge society
and issues surrounding access to information.
21. The Centres currently have a membership
of approximately 1,000 and mechanisms are in place to constantly
revitalise and rejuvenate the membership.
22. Through the Management and Professional
Development Centres in Harare and Bulawayo, members and target
audiences are invited to a regular programme of discussion fora,
seminars, presentations and networking events that expose them
to the latest thinking and research on management and leadership.
There is conscious and close interface of these events with the
leadership, scholarship and higher education link programmes which
enables our contacts and members to form a cross-sectoral networking
community which would not happen without the British Council providing
a neutral forum for interaction. Media coverage, web-based and
print accounts of these events raise awareness and appreciation
of the UK's creativity and societal values, and act as a source
23. A key way of influencing perceptions
of the UK amongst young people who will be future leaders of Zimbabwe
is to give them the opportunity to undertake postgraduate or professional
studies at leading British institutions. This is the main aim
of the FCO's Chevening Scholarship Scheme which is managed by
the British Council, and provides 10 scholarships to young Zimbabweans
24. The leadership development programme
supports the emergence of a new cadre of leaders who reach positions
of influence through merit and who will use them to effect positive
change in their societies. Because a large component of the programme
is delivered in Britain, it additionally influences perspectives
of modern Britain that the delegates hold. Launched in 2000 to
support exceptionally talented younger women, the programme has
developed to include men and now 30 carefully selected high calibre
individuals have completed the programme and a new cohort of 15
will be recruited this year. It is delivered in partnership with
the University of Exeter's Centre for Leadership Studies. The
programme includes leadership skills training, specialist skills
development, gender-awareness training, networking events, and
research assistance and support from the Management Development
25. Worldwoman is a virtual newsroom project
in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. It is a partnership between
DFID, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the British Council
and some private sponsors. It provides eight women journalists
in Zimbabwe a medium through which they can present and raise
awareness of women's concerns and perspectives on national and
world current affairs and events. At the same time, the project
trains the women journalists in the use of electronic media and
enables them to interact with UK and African counterparts and
UK mentors. Worldwoman should ultimately raise the standard of
journalism in Zimbabwe and the women's ability to work effectively
in a male dominated media environment. A further cohort of women
journalists are expected to join the project this year and it
is set to expand to more countries in Africa to increase the regional
26. The British Council has a self access
reference collection in Bulawayo and web sites that provide information
on UK education opportunities. The main users of these services
are vocational trainees, university entrants and young professionals.
A service is available to help UK educational institutes make
fruitful promotional visits to Zimbabwe.
27. In 2000-01 the British Council administered
7,040 examinations in Zimbabwe, and aims to sustain that number,
even in these difficult economic times. The most popular examinations
sat are City and Guilds technical and vocational qualifications.
The examinations service contributes to developing Zimbabwe's
skills base and creates opportunities for individual development.
High quality and technologically advanced examinations also contribute
to the promotion of a positive and modern view of the UK.
28. Education at all levels plays a long-term
role in assisting social, political and economic transformation
through its fundamental effect on the outlook of young people
and skills base of a nation, and higher education specifically
has a significant role in producing a cadre of competent leaders.
The British Council aims to influence the quality of the higher
education product delivered to students by managing higher education
link schemes between universities in the UK and Zimbabwe with
funding from DFID.
29. These links build staff capacity and
contribute to curriculum development. Additionally the British
Council supports a partnership from the grant between the Zimbabwe
Open University and UK Open University, and has donated all of
its general collection library materials to the Zimbabwe Open
University. The British Council also supports initiatives for,
and attendance at, high level seminars in Zimbabwe, in the region
and in UK on higher education policy, regulatory frameworks and
30. The British Council's work in the arts
raises awareness of UK creativity, culture and diversity and it
also conveys messages about UK values. Increasingly the arts programme
aims to bring Zimbabwean artists and British artists together
on collaborative projects that develop into longer-term productive
and positive relationships of mutual benefit. This year, one collaborative
project that the British Council is supporting is an exciting
new version of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" which
will be performed in Harare, Bulawayo and Manchester.
31. The British Council places great emphasis
on the development of effective networks in Zimbabwe. Building
and nurturing them will remain top priority over the coming years.
32. Further integration with the operations
in Malawi and Zambia will bring cost savings that will be re-deployed
to operational activity and increase impact. Zimbabwe will also
benefit from regional projects to upgrade British Council premises
and connectivity that will improve access and communications to
UK resources for target audiences.
33. The focus on management and professional
development, leadership, education products and higher education
reform experiences will continue and will help build a strong
and skilled foundation for the future, and arts events, information
and media pieces on contemporary Britain will add perspective
to perceptions of Britain's engagement.
34. The British Council has a key role to
perform in demonstrating Britain's continued commitment to the
people of Zimbabwe and has a significant contribution to make
to HMG's objectives. By engaging with the leaders of tomorrow
in a positive, mutual and meaningful way, the British Council
can play a key role in influencing the relationship between Britain
and Zimbabwe of the future.
The British Council, Zimbabwe