The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a contribution of $3 million CAD from the Canadian Government to life-saving humanitarian operations in Zimbabwe. The funding supports WFP’s rapid scale-up of emergency food assistance to reach almost 55,000 people in Matobo district.
Canada’s contribution comes at a crucial time when WFP is working to provide 4.1 million people in Zimbabwe with emergency food assistance amid the country’s ongoing hunger crisis. At present, more than 7.7 million people – or half of Zimbabwe’s population – is food insecure, and US$104 million is still required for WFP to provide people with life-saving food assistance during the peak of this year’s lean season and in the wake of poor harvests through until June 2020.
“Canada is standing with the people of Zimbabwe in addressing food insecurity by providing CAD$3 million to the WFP to help 55,000 people in Matobo district, in addition the CAD$1 million provided early in 2019,” said Canadian Ambassador René Cremonese.
Ambassador Cremonese travelled to Chipinge this week, together with WFP Representative and Country Director Eddie Rowe, to visit a food distribution site and meet some of the families receiving this vital food assistance, from WFP thanks to Canada’s support.
“WFP would like to thank the Government of Canada for its continued commitment to the people of Zimbabwe. WFP is seriously concerned about the hunger that millions of Zimbabweans are enduring – and the very real prospect that their plight will get worse before it gets better,” said Rowe. “This support from Canada will go a long way towards improving the well-being of food insecure people, particularly children and women.”
The visit takes place just ahead of International Women’s Day and will be an opportunity to champion the progress made to promote the rights of women and girls in food assistance. Women are the main recipients and decision-makers on the use of food and cash assistance in Zimbabwe. Following gender awareness campaigns led by WFP and partners over the past year – 61 percent of food distribution committee members are now also women.
Besides providing Zimbabweans with food to put on the table and meet their daily nutritional needs, WFP’s Canadian funded food assistance also provides a cushion for Zimbabweans during the lean season. It protects them from resorting to detrimental ways of coping, like selling assets or livestock which will undermine their food security in the longer term.
WFP is helping to improve the self-sufficiency of vulnerable communities by supporting local initiatives to boost agricultural production, improve access to markets, increase earnings and savings, and minimise the impact of adverse weather. Simple investments can transform people’s lives: increasing small grains production by supporting smallholder farmers, a vegetable garden, a fishpond, a small dam to retain precious water, a borehole.
As part of this week’s visit to Chipinge, the Canadian Ambassador also witnessed the results of some of WFP’s resilience building activities, such as a community owned dip tank for cleaning cattle, to hear how this builds resilience to the effects of drought and climate change.