The Japanese Government has contributed over US$450, 000 to provide life-saving nutrition, HIV/AIDS and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) interventions to communities affected by drought and floods. The project will be implemented in four food-insecure districts, namely Binga, Buhera, Chiredzi and Masvingo, through UNICEF in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe. It will particularly focus on the most vulnerable women and children.
H.E. Mr Toshiyuki Iwado, the Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, said “During times of humanitarian crisis, it is women and children in rural areas who find themselves the most vulnerable, and yet women are the ones who grow and cook food, and children are the future of the country. This assistance will help at risk women and children so that they have the nutrition, health, water and sanitation that they need during this critical time”.
Through nutrition interventions, 95,000 children will be screened for malnutrition with 3,400 expected to be treated. In addition, 6,700 pregnant women and new mothers will receive training on preparing safe and healthy food.
HIV/AIDS interventions will reach 2,400 vulnerable children, pregnant women and adolescents will be reached through HIV networks through an integrated package to support with information and skills on healthy coping strategies. Additionally, lifesaving WASH interventions will enable 10,000 children to have access to clean water by constructing or rehabilitating water points at 25 schools. The children will also be taught about hygienic and healthy-living practices.
“UNICEF is very grateful to the Japanese Government for their ongoing support to the children and communities of Zimbabwe. As we now focus on tackling the COVID-19 crisis across the world, we must not slow our efforts in ensuring that women and children receive quality nutrition, HIV/AIDS support and access to safe water in Zimbabwe”, said Ms Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Zimbabwe Representative.
Since August 2019, the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated significantly as the impact of drought and crop failures compounded by economic challenges has left 7.7 million Zimbabweans in need of humanitarian assistance in both rural districts and urban centers. Children and women in these areas are at an increased risk of malnutrition, communicable diseases as well as sexual abuse and exploitation. There is, therefore, a need for urgent humanitarian programmes focusing on food and nutrition security, support for vulnerable women and children, as well as the prevention, control, and management of communicable diseases.