More than a decade of economic instability and natural disasters has contributed to increased vulnerability for people in Zimbabwe as they struggle to earn a living and get enough food to eat.
Communities are faced with recurrent droughts, poor harvests, and the fifth highest HIV rate in the world, all of which is devastating food production (World Food Programme).
To help improve living conditions the Zimbabwe Red Cross, with support from the British Red Cross, is helping 9,000 families generate their own food and income with agricultural training.
Meeting the challenges
The project focuses on farmers, female-headed households, people living with HIV, the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children in two provinces: Midlands and Mashonaland West.
The challenge for many people to keep healthy and eat enough nutritious food is driven by the combined effects of droughts, declining soil fertility and economic insecurity. It is also made worse by lack of access to safe water and sanitation facilities, poor hygiene practices and the issues around living with HIV.
The Red Cross is boosting food production and combating hunger by training people in better agricultural practices and appropriate irrigation techniques. This approach will help families continue to improve their lives and increase incomes even after the project finishes.
Red Cross support
The goal of the project is to strengthen families’ resilience and ability to feed themselves by:
- increasing crop diversity and productivity
- improving household’s ability to gain an income and access nutritious food
- strengthening people’s ability, including volunteers and Red Cross staff, to adapt and be resilient to external threats such as climate change, economic shocks and HIV.
The project runs from 2010-2015 and to achieve its goal it will help:
- improve efficiency of water usage, water capture and conservation through small-scale irrigation and water-harvesting techniques
- increase the skills of households, Red Cross staff and volunteers, and other stakeholders in sustainable agriculture practices, livelihoods and project management
- enhance knowledge and practices for communities in management of natural resources.
Find out more about food insecurity