Harare — The United Kingdom (UK) has granted Zimbabwe £21,5 million (R453.6 million) to increase capacities of vulnerable rural communities in the drought-prone Southern African country.
The grant, allocated to the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) by the Department of International Development (DFID), would enable the vulnerable communities withstand climate change and economic shocks, ultimately leading to a reduced need for humanitarian responses and an improvement in their well-being.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the UN office grounds in Harare, Annabel Gerry, Head of DFID in Zimbabwe, said climate change was already evident in the country and adding to the existing difficulties of the estimated 1 million Zimbabweans currently chronically food insecure.
"This year we've been experiencing hotter days and higher frequency of dry spells during the rainy season," Gerry said.
The envoy said without adapting, poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition and environmental degradation would continue to be serious challenges in Zimbabwe, particularly in rural areas.
ZRBF is a five-year multi-donor fund managed by UNDP in close collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Settlement, as well as other national players such as Ministries of Environment; Water and Climate;Public Services and Labour and Social Welfare; Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Food and Nutrition Council.
Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said the contribution would enable ZRBF to reach communities living in extreme poverty and high levels of food insecurity.
Through ZRBF, some 830 000 labour-endowed vulnerable people in 18 rural districts are targeted with climate-smart agriculture; nutrition and livelihoods; productive asset creation; access to finance and value chain development; and community-based natural resources management intervention.
Ringson Chitsiko, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, said ZRBF was consistent with the Zimbabwe's climate change response policies and strategies and national development priorities.
Zimbabwe has for the last 15 years, experienced a social and economic crisis due to effects of climate change or extreme weather conditions and poor economic development leading to the high levels of poverty.
According to Government's Poverty Income Consumption and Expenditure Survey report, the national poverty rate stands at 62,6 percent.
The rural poverty rate is at 76 percent. Some 30,4 percent of the rural population live in extreme poverty and 33 percent of under-5 children are stunted.