Zimbabwe

Photo: Marion Legrand for Action Against Hunger, Zimbabwe
Population
15.6 million
Human Development Index
150 (out of 189 countries ranked)
Our Team
18 employees
Program Start
2002

People Helped in 2020: 347,282

190,967
People Reached by Nutrition and Health Programs 
140,079
People Reached by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs 
16,236
People Reached by Food Security and Livelihoods Programs 

Since its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has experienced a tense political environment and an unstable economy. To tackle its financial challenges, the country is creating initiatives to rejuvenate the economy, including replacing the national currency with the American dollar for international trade. While the economy has improved significantly in recent years, the public health situation continues to deteriorate. High rates of malnutrition, alarming numbers of HIV and AIDS cases, and frequent cholera outbreaks are huge humanitarian challenges.

Many Zimbabweans suffer from malnutrition coupled with HIV/AIDS infections, but the country’s massively deteriorated public health system is not properly equipped to handle this double threat. Since Action Against Hunger started in Zimbabwe in 2002, we have committed to integrating HIV and AIDS education and treatment in all of the programs that we conduct. Approximately 70% of patients diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition also have HIV/AIDS, and our nutrition programs are specifically designed to treat this particularly vulnerable group.

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In 2020, Zimbabwe faced one of its worst food security crises in decades, due to poor agricultural seasons, hyperinflation, failed economic and agricultural policies, and the consequences of Cyclone Idai and the COVID-19 pandemic. Six million people are in urgent need of food aid, and access to clean water, safe sanitation, and good hygiene remains a challenge as 23% of the rural population does not have access to improved water and 29% of households practice open defecation. Household income has declined significantly since the start of the pandemic, including a drop for 90% of non-farm business households.

Action Against Hunger's team in Zimbabwe set up emergency multisectoral programs at the beginning of 2020 to provide for the most vulnerable people affected by prolonged drought and the socioeconomic crisis. We protected livelihoods from further deterioration by providing and strengthening access to drinking water and sustainable food and income. This included providing 3,000 urban households with cash transfers, with the aim of increasing resilience and reducing negative coping strategies of vulnerable families.

To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we set up two emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene programs, and our activities included rehabilitation of water points, reparation of sanitary facilities, providing assistance to people with disabilities, and training 115 healthcare staff on infection prevention and control. Our team participated in a research project to monitor community perceptions of the spread of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases, which was presented to the national Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene cluster and provided to the Ministry of Health, the United Nations and other partners. 

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