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 under the Livelihoods and WASH project. 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.
In Zimbabwe, long term economic decline has been exacerbated by persistent droughts in recent years, resulting in extreme poverty in rural districts throughout the country.
We support MeDRA to work with groups of families in Muzarabani and Gokwe Districts to start small farming projects with chickens, pigs, goats to a generate both food and a sustainable income. We also support the construction of wells and toilets in communities to provide reliable water and improve health.
This year we are working with MeDRA to develop alternative sources of funding and hand over some project responsibilities to communities to ensure the sustainability of the project. We expect to stop funding this work in 2019-20.
This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, we’re making a huge difference together; lifting families out of poverty and helping people improve their lives.
More than 2000 people have access to clean water through 49 wells, 319 toilets and 1720 community members getting health and hygiene education. 162 families increased their household income every year since 2014, by rearing chickens, goats, bees and other agriculture projects
Methodist Church in Zimbabwe through the Methodist Development & Relief Agency