ActionAid Zimbabwe (AAZ) in partnership with Zimbabwe Environment Lawyers Association (ZELA), AfroSoft Private Limited and Africa Breeders Services Total Cattle Management (ABS TCM) has launched the Second Phase of the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) Programme in the Zambezi Valley reaching 45 105 households. Phase 1 of the ZRBF Programme ran from July 2016 to May 2019. The objective of the programme is to increase the resilience capacities of communities in Binga, Mbire and Kariba districts in the Zambezi Valley to withstand shocks and stresses in the event of disasters. The ZRBF programme so far reached 20210 households in the Zambezi Valley.
Major interventions have been on livestock breed improvement, production of drought tolerant small grain crops, creation of community assets such as weir dams and rehabilitation of boreholes to promote access to water by communities, promotion of communities’ access to information on resilience building, early warning systems and linkages to sustainable agricultural markets.
The ZRBF programme in the Zambezi Valley is influencing decision making at different levels with more women now engaging in cattle and goat businesses where they are making key decisions at household level. Over the years in the Zambezi Valley, cattle and goat farming has been a preserve of men. The livestock programme has increased smallholder farmers income due to the improvement in breeds and linking them to viable markets. It has also increased youth participation who were lagging in development programmes.
The small grain crop interventions have seen smallholder farmers being contracted by large-scale markets to produce drought tolerant crops such as sesame, mung bean and red sorghum. These interventions have improved smallholder farmers’ income and at the same time the group approach utilised has amplified their voice and improved their bargaining power when they negotiate with markets.
Implementation of resilience plans at ward level across the three districts has seen communities making use of their own resources such as rehabilitation of link roads, gulley reclamation, waiting mother’s shelter, dip tanks, creation of conservancy in Binga using plough back from council levies. Some of the assets such as weir dams have promoted communities’ access to water for animals where the aim is to reduce animal tracking distances.
The ZRBF is a joint initiative being implemented by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement with support from the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Following the successful implementation of Phase 1 of the ZRBF in the Zambezi Valley, the Programme is now going into Phase 2 which is running from May 2019 to March 2021. Inception meetings for phase 2 were held in Mbire (9 May 2019), Binga (15 May 2019) and Kariba (17 May 2019). In the Second Phase, the programme aims to strengthen district information kiosks through stabilising power supply to the Rural District Councils where the kiosks established in Phase 1 are currently housed.
Commenting on the programmatic focus of Phase 2 of ZRBF in the Zambezi Valley, Ebenezer Tombo, Team Leader for ZRBF programme in the Zambezi Valley said: “We are excited to launch Phase 2 of the programme which will build on the impact we made in Phase 1.
Speaking at an inception meeting in Mbire recently, the Chief Executive Officer for Mbire Rural District Council, Claudius Majaya said: “We applaud the ZRBF in the Zambezi Valley for the great impact which has resulted in our communities becoming more resilient in the face of shocks and stresses such as droughts and floods.”