Sweden has invested 15 million Swedish Kroner (about US $1.6 million) towards Zimbabwe's water and sanitation development as it moves to strengthen resilience capacity of vulnerable communities in the face of COVID-19.
The grant is expected to go a long way in buttressing already put in place water, sanitation and hygiene activities under the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) with much priority on rehabilitating existing water sources to ensure availability of the precious resource.
"COVID-19 has heightened the need for hygiene and hence access to safe water. With water sources already affected by unpredictable rainfall, the availability of water is key to prevent protect farmers from losing the progress made over the past four years and mitigate their exposure to COVID-19," said Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Åsa Pehrson.
UNDP Resident Representative, Georges van Montfort added "Water has become a precious resource in much of Southern Africa and Zimbabwe is no exception to this. This additional support from Sweden allows us to invest in water for agriculture and livestock as well as in response to increased hygiene requirements due to COVID-19. As such, it addresses the immediate needs, while at the same time it lays the foundation for long-term development."
Zimbabwe received less than average rainfall in both 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 farming seasons. As a result, an estimated 5.5 million rural and 2.2 million urban people were left food insecure. In addition, the global health pandemic, COVID-19 is projected to further adversely affect farmers and their supply and value chains.
The ZRBF is a multi-donor fund working with small-scale farmers in 18 vulnerable districts on building their resilience to such shocks and stresses.