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ZRBF rescues hunger-prone communities

Local News
Lands deputy minister Vangelis Haritatos

BY LORRAINE MUROMO

THE Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) has, in a big way, assisted communities in dealing with climate shocks that have seen a spike in hunger and poverty due to poor yields.

ZRBF programmes are implemented by the Lands ministry and other ministries through funding from development partners such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), European Union and the Swedish government and Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.

The resilience project, adopted in 2015 and bankrolled by UNDP, is worth US$89 221 626 and aims to reduce and possibly phase out humanitarian assistance in the southern African country.

The project came as Zimbabwe, like many other countries, had been facing a number of environmental and economic shocks which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing delegates during the UNDP ZRBF end of programme learning event in Bulawayo, UNDP country representative Mia Seppo said the programme was designed to help communities mitigate the effects of shocks and hazards caused by the impact of COVID-19 coupled with domestic and global recessions, which further worsened the situation.

Seppo said this resulted in communities failing to come up with coping mechanisms, thus increasing their level of vulnerability.

“UNDP and our UN partners will continue to support government in its development agenda as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1 and devolution through the United Nations Sustainable Development Co-operation Framework, 2022-26,” Seppo said.

“Moving forward, the second phase of ZRBF will be a joint effort between UNDP, FAO [Food and Agricultural Organisation], Unicef [United Nations Children’s Fund] and WFP [World Food Programme]. This joint effort is expected to bring together our vast experiences and comparative advantages for the benefit of the most vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe.”

Seppo said the programme had empowered 11% of the rural population of which 61,7% were females, which indicated a great improvement in gender sensitivity and empowerment by the relevant stakeholders.

Speaking at the same event, the Lands deputy minister Vangelis Haritatos said government with the support of development and humanitarian partners would continue to prioritise resilience building interventions for the attainment of national development aspirations.

“This continuous prioritisation of resilience building interventions will build on the lessons learnt from implementation of the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund as well as other ongoing resilience building programmes,” he said.

Haritatos stressed the need for stakeholder engagement in resilience building, adding that community input could instil a sense of community ownership and ensure success and long-term sustainability of resilience building initiatives.

Over the years, the programme has helped reduce poverty, patriarchy and crime-related cases across the country’s provinces.

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