Walter Mswazie recently in Chebvute, Masvingo
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) has injected eight million Euros into food security and drought resilience programmes in three southern African countries including Zimbabwe.
This was revealed by SDC regional director for cooperation, Mr Manuel Thurnhofer on the sidelines of a media tour of the Chebvute food security and resilience project in Ward 17, Masvingo Central on Friday.
Mr Thurnhofer said while the three-year fund was ending this year it has immensely transformed livelihoods for 500 families.
He said out of the three countries which include Lesotho and ESwatini (formerly Swaziland), local projects were most competitive.
“Through fundraising, SDC and WFP have injected at least 8 million Euros towards community-driven food security and drought resilience projects in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and ESwatini.
“Among the three countries, Zimbabwe, in particular the community of Chebvute here in Masvingo is doing wonders. The families have managed to start a number of sustainable projects that will help them fight the obtaining El Nino-induced shocks,” said Mr Thurnhofer.
“I would like to talk about the impressive community participation here. The work done by the local community is immaculate, we are really impressed by the efforts as families are now food secure and ready to effectively respond to climate change shocks. The project is coming to an end but we will see how we can keep assisting them on issues of water which is currently scarce given hot conditions.
“However, the community is doing well in utilising the available water as they use it for both gardening and fish farming. They use the same water in a circular way and that is working effectively.”
Giving an overview, Chebvute Food Security and Resilience project treasurer, Ms Tendai Marongwe said the project brought positive change in many families’ lives.
“We thank SDC, WFP, Aquaculture Zimbabwe, SNV, Government extension officers among others for ‘injecting life blood’ into our community.
“We started the project in 2017 following consultations and we can safely say we have achieved our goal of building resilience through drought mitigating strategies,” said Ms Marongwe.
She said they were realising good profits from the project that include market gardening, poultry, bee keeping and fishery.
“To date we have realised $11 000 from the project and on daily basis we get money through the selling our produce.
“There are vegetables which we supply to nearest school Mapokomere Secondary and others. We cannot complain as the returns are fairly good.
“We use the money to buy inputs as well paying school fees for our children. We also do saving clubs where we borrow money as members and return it with some interest. We are now food secure and no longer wait for the department of social welfare to provide us with food aid. We are also taking care of orphaned and vulnerable children in our community,” she said.
Masvingo Provincial Development Coordinator (PDC) Mr Fungai Mbetsa hailed development partners in the province saying they added impetus to the devolution trajectory. “As we are working on devolution I think the Switzerland cooperation is helping the province. It is adding value to our devolution mantra since the communities involved in such projects will be developed. I am impressed with the way communities have also embraced climate change response mechanisms here,” said Mr Mbetsa. — @waltermswazie2