UK’s millions – where did they go?

DFID has been providing humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe since 1980, and Rintoul said it would it would continue to do so until poverty had been eliminated and Zimbabweans were economically self-sufficient. DFID’s main focus is on provision of basic services such as maternal and productive health, education, water and sanitation, economic opportunities and agenda of governance.

Jane Rintoul
Jane Rintoul

The British government is to increase its budget support to vulnerable Zimbabweans from $125 million to $175 million this financial year.

In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean, the head of the department, Jane Rintoul, said her country would also contribute to humanitarian agencies to ensure that the vulnerable were cushioned from starvation during the 2012-2013 peak hunger season.

Already, DFID has contributed $17,5 million in urgent response to the poor harvests experienced from the previous farming season. Of this, $8,7 million went to the World Food Programme to assist districts faced with highest levels of food insecurity by providing cash for households to buy cereals.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation was given a similar amount to protect the livestock of 176,850 people through providing feed for cattle, borehole rehabilitation, and vaccination and deworming in six priority districts.

DFID also gave $17,5 million towards making 600,000 Zimbabweans food secure and another $21,5 million for poverty reduction through business growth, job creation and access to finance.

In addition, the pro-poor Growth Programme will give loans to some 62,000 predominately poor women for income generating projects. Almost a million other people have already been made food secure by DFID over the past two years, while 192,000 children have been assisted to attend primary school, 130,000 people have been given clean water and improved sanitation and 68,000 people, mainly in female-headed households, have benefited from cash transfers.

Some 20,000 people, over 70 percent of whom were women, were provided with access to finance. DFID programmes mainly benefit girls and women in a determined effort to unlock their potential and as a result of the recognition that investing in the female is at the core of sustainable development throughout the world.

The agency is set to launch its new $72 million Livelihoods and Food Security Programme to increase small farmers’ productivity and develop new links between farmers and commercial markets. Together with the UK-supported Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust, this will result in an increase in income and employment opportunities, leading to improved livelihoods among poor rural families.

The use of new technologies, micro-finance, capital prizes and increased access to finance are being used as key tools to end the dependence on aid in Zimbabwe.

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund is providing direct financial services to the poor while Agro Initiative Zimbabwe is targeting medium-sized agribusinesses with innovative ideas to engage small scale farmers, including providing seed capital prizes of up to $50,000.

“Through its $24 million 2014-2015 Humanitarian Programme, DFID plans to rehabilitate community boreholes and provide support towards rainwater harvesting as a way of helping people to better respond to future crisis,” explained Rintoul.

She said that between now and 2015, DFID was committed to ensuring that 86,000 economic opportunities were created, 500,000 more people have enough food, 2 million have access to clean water and over one million have access to improved sanitation facilities.

Over 400,000 more children would be assisted to complete five years of education, more than 200,000 women would get access to modern methods of family planning, 190,000 would benefit from cash transfers and 31,000 others would receive financial services.

Through the $54,3 million Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme, DFID will help provide safe water to close to 2, 5 million people and of these, 1, 140 000 will enjoy improved sanitation.

Hygiene practices will be improved amongst the rural population in 30 districts from five provinces. The programme will be managed by UNICEF in collaboration with NGOs and the private sector.

To help improve welfare of some 4 million people living in Zimbabwe’s urban areas, DFID is the largest single donor ($32 million) towards ZimFund’s efforts to rehabilitate failing power and water and sanitation systems in urban areas.

Over four years, the health services programme received $209,3 million to improve access to quality maternal, newborn and child health services, and to reduce HIV related illness and deaths through increased provision of anti-retro viral therapy.

Key aspects of behaviour change relating to prevention of HIV and gender based violence would be tackled, among other issues.

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