The Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) has been hailed as a game-changer in ensuring that families and communities adapt to climate change which is becoming a threat to achieving standard nutrition for both children and adults.
The ZRBF is a long-term development initiative with an overall objective of contributing to the increased capacity of communities to protect development gains in the face of recurrent shocks and stresses development of Zimbabwe
Participants and beneficiaries who attended the National Nutrition Learning Event in Gweru last week said the program’s care group approach makes it easier for the community to adapt to the effects of droughts, cyclones and adverse weather patterns which have seen most people’s crops dying before they are ripe, leaving millions under severe hunger.
Headman Sinikiwe Musike from Zvishavane said his community has shifted focus to growing drought-resistant crops as opposed to the cash crops which are highly susceptible to harsh weather.
“The changing rain patterns have made us focus on growing small grains which can adapt to climate changes. ZRBF programme taught us about the richness of our indigenous crops and fruits and we now feel like we were tricked to believe that only maize can make healthy food,” he said.
The ZRBF is supported by the Ministry of Lands Agriculture Water and Rural Resettlement (MLAWRR) The European Union (EU) The Embassy of Sweden, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Department for International Development (DFID).
It seeks to ensure that development programmes are designed and based on evidence concerning the shocks and stresses that affect the well-being of rural communities in Zimbabwe as well as their capacities to withstand and recover from these shocks
The program is targeting 18 districts in semiarid and vulnerable districts in Zimbabwe, These are the district of convergence in receiving Hazards such as Human-wildlife conflict, droughts, floods, and heatwaves
One of the implementing organisations, Nutrition Action Zimbabwe (NAZ), has been working with the government in prioritising care groups to spearhead nutrition projects in communal areas across the country.
Deputy Director for Nutrition in the Ministry of Health, Handrea Njovo said: “The government is committed to the survival of children and women in the country and in this regard has made great strides to address child and maternal health issues in the context of international and regional agreements aimed at improving maternal and child health.”
He added that nutrition plays a significant role in the development of the nation and the attainment of Vision 2030.
“Therefore, investing in nutrition promotion prevails as a powerful instrument to provide a productive and prosperous nation towards the achievement of Vision 2030 which is to transform Zimbabwe into an upper-middle-class,” he said.
Njovo said investing in nutrition extends to address adversities induced by climate change.
“The nutrition component implemented in the ZRBF project aimed to build and strengthen beneficiaries’ capacities to withstand shocks and disasters as well as build resilience in the face of climate change-induced adversities by improving their absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities,” he said.