HARARE – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomes an US$8.7 million contribution from the United States to power its resilience building activities for more than 65,000 people in five food insecure communities for the next six months.
The contribution, provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), comes at a critical time in Zimbabwe. It will be used to provide participants under WFP’s Food Assistance for Assets activities with food assistance in return for work, support the creation or rehabilitation of small-scale farming infrastructure, village savings and lending groups, as well as provide training on business management in Kariba, Masvingo, Mwenezi, Rushinga and Zvishavane districts.
“Our longstanding funding for the Food Assistance for Assets program demonstrates the U.S. government’s commitment to tackling food insecurity in Zimbabwe,” said Ramses Gauthier, USAID acting Mission Director. “We are happy to work with a ready, willing, and capable partner, the World Food Programme, to accomplish this vital task.”
Under the initiative, which is designed to meet immediate food needs through food distributions while investing in productive assets, participants receive monthly food allotments consisting of maize meal, pulses, and cooking oil for the duration of the work while the entire community benefits from the completed assets. Participants also receive training on insurance and financial inclusion and food processing and are linked to nearby markets.
“We are grateful to the U.S. government for its continued support in enabling vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe to withstand the negative impact of climate change and recurrent economic shocks,” said Christine Mendes, WFP acting Country Director. “The beauty of transformational activities lies in empowering communities not only to have food today and tomorrow but also to prevent and mitigate future food crises, as well reduce humanitarian needs over time, while paving the way toward self-sufficient futures.”
The United States’ support comes at a critical time, as farmers across the country harvest their cereals. Although the country has received good rains this agricultural season, many families still face food insecurity. Some smallholder farmers live hand-to-mouth due to the cumulative effects of droughts, insufficient livelihood opportunities, and economic shocks.
Since 2011, through its resilience building activities, more than 1.2 million people in 30 districts have benefitted from WFP-supported productive assets. WFP has created approximately 400 small dams and 80 irrigation systems, helped establish 520 hectares of vegetable gardens, and drilled more than 60 mostly solar-powered boreholes.
USAID remains the largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe and supports sustainable solutions for communities affected by food insecurity.