COVID-19 Pandemic response
As of Friday 3 April Zimbabwe had 3 positive COVID-19 cases and 1 death. COVID-19 comes at a terrible time for Zimbabwe, exacerbating already incredibly difficult conditions. In February 2020 Zimbabwe’s annual inflation soared to more than 500 percent, the unemployment rate is over 90 percent, medicines are scarce, and over half of the population are food insecure, a product of inflation and poor harvests owing to droughts, poor rain and erratic weather.
This is the context our partner MeDRA is working within and the enormous challenges being faced in Zimbabwe’s efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. The lockdown requirements mean that MeDRA is unable to continue some of their scheduled activities. However, these funds will instead be used to support MeDRA to produce posters and fliers about COVID-19 in English and local languages for the communities that we work with. MeDRA also plans to raise awareness using loud speaker systems, which will help ensure that people who can’t read are also receiving this important information. MeDRA will be tracking potential cases in the communities they work within and collaborating with the Ministry of Health to ensure that health clinic services are provided where needed.
As is also the case in Australia, rates of domestic violence can increase under times of economic and other stress and when men are spending more time at home due to disruptions in their normal work. To support women at risk of experiencing violence during this difficult period, MeDRA’s posters and fliers will also include hotline numbers for gender based violence and information on local clinics. And probably urge women to seek clinic services during the lockdown period.
Zimbabwe has estimated unemployment of 90% and an extremely youthful population, with 60% of the country under the age of 25.
This project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of the church to support and protect vulnerable people by equipping church leaders with the knowledge and skills relating to child protection, gender-based violence (including sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment), disability inclusion and human trafficking, and developing church-wide policies and reporting mechanisms.
84% of people in Zimbabwe are Christian and churches and church leaders are central to community life. Church leaders will be able to share their knowledge and skills with the community members they serve, approximately 300 people per church leader. This will lead to attitudinal and behavioural changes at the community level that result in more vulnerable people experiencing greater safety and inclusion.
Since 2015, we have provided training to over 800 youth, on topics including HIV and AIDs prevention, peacebuilding, financial literacy and community organising
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Methodist Church in Zimbabwe