Over two million Zimbabweans benefited from the humanitarian assistance provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) during the El Niño-induced drought that led to widespread crop failure last year, leaving over four million rural people food-insecure.
BY Staff Reporter
Since 2015, USAID has responded to the drought with agility and speed to meet the immediate food needs of the most vulnerable people while also building their resilience against future droughts.
USAID supported a substantial expansion of the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Lean Season Assistance, which provided a full basket of monthly food rations for the most food-insecure people in the hardest-hit districts of Zimbabwe. The food assistance also reached hundreds of Zimbabweans displaced by flooding last month.
Together with partners including the United Nations Children’s Fund and WFP, USAID is providing emergency nutrition for malnourished children and people living with HIV, nutrition and health services, access to safe drinking water, and seeds and livestock support to promote agricultural recovery. This emergency assistance aims to maintain or improve the nutritional status of vulnerable groups, save lives, and facilitate a quicker recovery for struggling communities.
“The United States stood with the people of Zimbabwe during the drought,” said USAID/Zimbabwe mission director Stephanie Funk. “USAID’s assistance reduced suffering for over two million Zimbabweans and ensured that families had the necessary tools to cope with the negative effects of the drought.”
During the drought, USAID scaled up its two ongoing food security activities, Enhancing Nutrition, Stepping Up Resilience and Enterprise and Amalima, which aim to address the underlying causes of chronic food insecurity and malnutrition in rural areas.
The activities provide food for pregnant and lactating women and children under the age of two and helped communities repair and create productive assets.
Meanwhile, as the annual harvest approaches, USAID and its partners are reviewing the progress and achievements of a successful drought response and continuing ongoing activities that aim to improve long-term food security for Zimbabwe.