Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery have provided seeds, training and numerous hardy goats to communities in Zimbabwe.
“A state of disaster has been declared in Zimbabwe due to severe droughts and food shortages,” said Florence Mangwende from the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.
The Red Cross are monitoring communities to discover which are the most affected by sudden weather events such as droughts or El Nino. They are targeting the areas that get hit year after year to help families prepare for and cope with extreme weather.
“The project is building people’s skills and capacity to become self-sufficient,” said Florence.
“We aim at building resilient communities, focusing especially on the empowerment of women.
“Empowering the women in households changes the family situation, as seen from our food security and livelihoods project last year. Empowering the women means empowering the communities and families.”
So far the project has helped communities to grow their own nutritious food.
“Funding from the British Red Cross helps buy seeds, irrigation materials and small livestock”, said Florence.
Goat milk sends children to school
Providing livestock such as goats, which can cope with droughts, has had a huge impact on whole communities.
Florence explained: “Families were given a pair of goats, and then they passed on the offspring to another family and so on.
“The cycle has been repeated more than 60 times in a number of communities. This has enabled families to buy food and basic everyday items as well as send their children to school with the money generated from selling goat milk. “
Red Cross volunteers have worked with schools and local residents to set up gardens, greenhouses and irrigation systems, as well as trees for schools.
“We have one volunteer for every 20 households and the project in the initial stages works with 2,000 households,” said Florence.
“The volunteers are identified by the communities. They select an individual whom they trust, is well respected in the community and is able to deliver results.
“The importance of having volunteers on the ground and from the local communities ensures that they follow up and see how the families are getting on. This also helps in evaluating the success of the project.
“We have direct contact with the communities every day and seeing a family smile when they are able to purchase a bag of maize seeds really touches me.
“Last year we helped 9,000 households and that is a start.
“We at the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, along with the families who have been assisted, would like to thank the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their funding. It is helping us help those who need it the most.”