Helping to end chronic hunger

In Zimbabwe, a woman kneels on the ground weeding a corn field in a hospital garden

Cholera outbreak

A cholera outbreak is affecting much of Zimbabwe. Severe weather conditions, such as floods, cyclones, and droughts also make it harder to get clean water, creating the perfect conditions for cholera to spread. There have been 8385 cases recorded since the outbreak started in February 2023. The situation is being exacerbated by lack of clean water sources and poor sanitation services.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society have been helping. Their work includes reaching 171,000 people with community health messages about cholera and distributing materials for Ministry of Health cholera treatment units, such as IV fluids and lab reagents. The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society launched a cholera appeal on 16 November and will contribute to the Government of Zimbabwe’s cholera response plan in controlling and reducing the cholera outbreak. At least 550,455 people in affected districts will be reached.

Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai struck Zimbabwe in March, causing flash floods, landslides in high winds. At least 1,600 families - up to 8,000 people - have been affected. Over 2,500 people had to flee their homes. 

You can help by supporting our Cyclone Idai appeal.

Drought and hunger

The British Red Cross is committed to helping end chronic hunger in Africa. Working with the Zimbabwe Red Cross, together we reach 5,000 people in two districts where drought makes it hard to grow enough food. In one district, Chipinge, approximately 36 per cent of children under five are malnourished.

Hardy crops for challenging weather

The project helps people grow more food in several ways. First, we introduce crops that grow better in dry conditions so families have more vegetables to eat. Root crops, spinach and tomatoes fit the bill.

The same goes for goats, pigs and chickens. The project encourages people to farm hardier animals after hundreds of cows died in a recent drought.

When people earn money from selling vegetables or animals, we help them save money for lean periods through savings and loans groups.

Supporting new mums, babies and children

Gardens outside health centres are used to introduce new mothers to nutritious foods for themselves and their babies.

Red Cross volunteers also visit pregnant women at home to teach people about health and hygiene. Once the gardens are established, women will be given food parcels and seeds to take home after giving birth at the centre.

The project has also supported the repair of 24 wells to provide clean water to communities. Many were located in schools to help keep children safe from disease.

Cash grants help families buy food during droughts

This year, 28 per cent of the population – 2.4. million people – may not have enough food because of drought.

The Red Cross is giving cash grants to 4,000 families (covering 20,000 people) in two of the worst affected districts, Binga and Kariba. Families get a monthly grant during the four-month period when the area experiences the worst food shortages. They can use the money to buy food and other essentials.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross is also working with the UN’s World Food Programme to give cash grants to 4,000 families in the Muzarabani district.

British Red Cross supports other countries in Southern Africa

Many countries across Southern Africa are now facing similar challenging droughts and food shortages.

Our office in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, also supports Red Cross organisations in Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini (formerly called Swaziland). This includes cash grants to 2,000 families in Eswatini and more than 500 households in Namibia.