Food security pgm gets £200,000 from British Lottery

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery in the UK have committed £200,000 in funding towards the food security and livelihoods programme in Zimbabwe, supported by the British Red Cross.

Villagers improve the efficiency of  water usage through small-scale irrigation and water-harvesting techniques.
Villagers improve the efficiency of water usage through small-scale irrigation and water-harvesting techniques.

Together with the Zimbabwe Red Cross and local communities the money will help provide the skills, training and support needed to increase the production of food in districts of Hurungwe, Zvimba, Gweru and Shurugwi. The aim of the programme is to help communities to become self-sufficient in the long term, by improving access to food, rebuilding livelihoods and creating a sustainable source of income.

The people in these areas are being supported by 450 Red Cross volunteers who come from the communities in which they work and therefore have an in-depth understanding of the local challenges facing the people of Zimbabwe.

Reliable income

Since the start of the food security and livelihoods programme four years ago, 9,000 families have become self-sufficient.

They have the capacity to grow or buy their own food and have a reliable source of income. As part of the programme they have also been trained to maintain infrastructure, pass on skills and assets.

Mary Mpofu, aged 42, living with her husband and four children in Maboleni Village in Lower Gweru district said, “I was selected into the Red Cross food security programme in 2010 and I had nothing of my own to help me.

Through the Red Cross volunteers and the agriculture extension workers from the government, I received training. I have started cultivating vegetables and crops.

This cropping season, I have 1.2 acres of maize, 0.5 acres groundnuts and 0.5 acres cowpeas. I have been able to meet the food and nutritional demands of my family. I am very grateful to Red Cross – they have taught me a lot. Life will never be the same again.”

The project focuses on farmers, female-headed households, people living with HIV, the elderly, orphans and vulnerable children. It aims to improve the efficiency of water usage, water capture and conservation through small-scale irrigation and water-harvesting techniques.

Living with HIV

More than a decade of economic instability and drought has contributed to increased vulnerability of 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.

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.

Post published in: Agriculture

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