HomeEditorialsNewsDay Editorial: Engage NGOs openly to alleviate malnutrition

NewsDay Editorial: Engage NGOs openly to alleviate malnutrition

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The admission by the deputy secretary to the President and Cabinet, Ray Ndhlukula, that the country was off target in meeting some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which it committed itself to fulfil in the year 2000 is a serious cause for concern.

NewsDay Editorial

Speaking at the launch of the 2012 MDGs progress report in Harare on Wednesday, Ndhlukula admitted that there were outstanding areas that still needed to be addressed.

Of note is MDG 1, in which commitment was made to ensure that between 2000 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than the Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) was halved. In 2003, the proportion was pegged at 72% and only moved up to 72,3% in 2011. By May 2011, 98% of paid employees were receiving income below or equal to TCPL.

This clearly indicates that it would be a herculean task to achieve this goal as many employers struggle to pay their employees well. The prevalence of poverty emanating from this set–up has mainly affected children who, in some instances, fail to go to school due to hunger, especially in rural areas.

The 2011/12 Poverty Datum Line Analysis in Zimbabwe shows that in 2011, 72,3% of all Zimbabweans were poor, with 22,5% considered to be extremely poor. The challenge here is for the government not only to craft, but to implement effective pro-poor policies.

Admittedly, there are already numerous national policy frameworks that support poverty-related issues, but their implementation has been the major challenge. The government also needs to put its house in order and ensure that there is proper co-ordination of social protection programmes and increase their impact.

We also appeal to the powers-that-be to deal with the decent work deficit in the informal sector which is currently sustaining the livelihoods of the majority of people.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Constance Chigwamba, also noted that hunger had contributed to the failure to effectively implement MDG 2, which seeks to ensure all children in the country will be able to complete primary education, by 2015.

She said if the children were hungry, it was difficult for them to attend school and learn so that they could succeed in life, even if they had the best teachers.

This implies the need for support of feeding programmes especially in drought-prone rural areas so that children have access to food and, in turn, are able to go to school.
Government needs to engage non-governmental organisations in this and put aside the usual politicking so that development can be realised. High malnutrition levels in the rural areas are worrisome and the sooner action is taken in that regard, the better.

With only 900 days to go before the end of 2015, which is the target, there is urgent need to mobilise support in this area so that the promise that global leaders made in September 2000 is kept alive and honoured.

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