The United States Agency for Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) have availed a combined $43 million to provide food and cash to the hunger stricken districts in the country.
The aid follows poor weather conditions which prevailed during the 2014-15 agricultural season which included erratic rainfall and long dry spells that contributed to large scale crop failure across the country.
Speaking during the launch of humanitarian assistance programme, USAID Mission Director, Ms Stephanie Funk said her country is keen to support the people of Zimbabwe.
“The United States continues to stand by the people of Zimbabwe during difficult times. We recognize that humanitarian assistance alone is not enough.
“We and our partners are working to build resilience and assist vulnerable Zimbabweans to develop the skills to move away from the dependency toward self-sufficiency,” she said.
To move beyond humanitarian efforts, she said that USAID is putting great emphasis and investment in promoting agriculture and improved livelihoods opportunities as well as improving nutrition for those most affected by food insecurity.
She went on to say that USAID has also laid new projects in crops and livestock and such projects will enhance agricultural productivity.
“Along with support for resilience in our humanitarian project, we have also signed new project in crops and livestock that will promote agriculture productivity and economic viability,” she said.
Annabel Gerry the head of DFID said the United Kingdom will always protect vulnerable people in Zimbabwe.
“The UK’s responsibility will always be to protect vulnerable people from shocks, and it is critical that we provide this assistance to Zimbabwe no. At the same time, our longer term aim is to build the resilience of the poorest people to withstand such shocks,” she said
As a result of the failed agricultural season, close to 1.5 million Zimbabweans will have insufficient means to meet their minimum basic needs during the upcoming lean season.
“Through a mixed food security intervention – DFID providing cash transfers, the USAID providing a combination of cash and commodities, and the government of Zimbabwe providing food aid, some of the most vulnerable households across Zimbabwe will be supported through the difficult months ahead,” said Gerry.
The international community continues to transform the lives of many Zimbabweans despite governments’ criticism.
The USAID and DFID grant of $43 million has been availed through their partners which include United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) and CARE.
Edde Rowe, WFP country representative and director said that the grant came at a pertinent time.
“This comes at a very critical time, as we approach the more demanding months of the lean season.
“A period where most households are struggling to meet their daily needs,” Rowe said.
He also said that the grant will aid close to 220 000 people in the seven most insecure districts from September to march next year
This is not the first time USAID and DFID have provided humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe.
USAID has contributed over $1.1 billion in food assistance since 2002 while DFID has provided $500 million between 2011 and 2015.
Annabel GerryDepartment for International Development (DFID)Eddie RoweStephanie FunkUnited KingdomUSAIDWorld Food Programme