A UNITED States Agency for International Development (USAid) food security programme known as Amalima played a key role in curbing child malnutrition in Matabeleland North and South at the height of the El Nino-induced drought, US ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas Jr has said.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Amalima is a five-year $41,6 million programme meant to provide food security, build community resilience to shocks and nutrition and health among pregnant women and children under 12 years.
The programme, funded by USAid and implemented by an international non-profit organisation Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), targets beneficiaries in Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North, Gwanda, Mangwe and Bulilima in Matabeleland South.
Thomas Jr and CNFA directors visited a number of Amalima-supported projects in Tsholotsho on Wednesday, among them a food distribution centre at Nkunzi primary health centre, a rehabilitated dip-tank and a conservation agriculture plot in the area, Ward 18.
“Through the great work of Amalima and its partnerships with local communities, child malnutrition actually decreased at the height of the El Nino-induced drought.
“The US is proud to partner with the people of Zimbabwe to build long-term community resilience against future droughts through Amalima project,” he said.
CNFA said the programme leverages community-led approaches to increase agricultural productivity through conservation agriculture, livestock management trainings, land rehabilitation, water management, improved drought irrigation and adaptation.
The CNFA said programme has so far resulted in the construction and rehabilitation of 78 bassets aimed at building drought resilience, including dams, irrigation schemes and dip tanks.
CNFA president and chief executive officer, Sylvain Roy said the Amalima programme would have helped more than 60 000 households when it winds down next year.
“To date, Amalima has distributed more than 7 000 metric tonnes of supplementary food to more than 45 000 mothers and children at 59 rural clinics and 28 secondary distribution points.
“These food distributions are crucial to address chronic malnutrition during the first 1 000 days of life, a critical period for preventing stunting as well as physical and mental disabilities associated with malnutrition,” he said.