By Bernard Chiketo
MINISTER of State for Manicaland Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba has commended the United Methodist Church (UMC)’s US$24 000 Covid-19 prevention response targeting 38 000 people through 96 rural schools across Manicaland province.
This comes as the country is relaxing lockdown regulations, reopening schools, and allowing local and international travel, thereby increasing the risk of transmissions, a situation demanding even greater need for prevention efforts.
The church’s development arm – Chabadza Community Development Programme (CCDP), with support from UMC Norway and the Norwegian government, secured personal protective equipment and hygiene materials and is conducting roadshows across four districts to combat the spread of the pandemic.
It began rolling out its prevention efforts in August in Buhera where it donated hundreds of buckets, liquid soap, face masks, latex gloves, infrared thermometers, and 2021 calendars to the district Covid-19 response taskforce and 20 schools before making another donation to 25 schools in Mutasa in September.
Coronavirus is having a devastating impact globally but is already proving to be catastrophic for families living in poverty, those with poor medical facilities, and where children’s health is compromised by malnutrition.
Minister Gwaradzimba, in a speech read on her behalf by a deputy director in the minister’s office, Luckmore Bhasopo, said the church had not disappointed the government’s expectations of its time-honoured character to stand with the nation as the government could not meet the demands of fighting the disease alone.
“You have stood by your Government and the people of Zimbabwe, evidenced by your generous donation of PPEs, as witnessed at this function,” she said.
UMC district superintendent, Reverend Tafadzwa Musona, handed over the materials on behalf of UMC Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa.
Rev. Musona said the church had mobilised resources, through its sub-ministry aptly called church and society whose main thrust is community development, in response to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call for private players to complement government in managing the epidemic.
“We are not only supporting our own schools and members but institutions and communities that government through local Covid-19 district response taskforce committees as having the most need in the four districts we are working in – Buhera, Mutasa, Makoni, and Chimanimani,” Rev. Musona said.
Manicaland Covid-19 sub-committee on resource mobilisation Isaiah Sabwe said the church’s donations were indeed being by fellow stakeholders to ensure that resources were being equitably distributed.
“They indeed are not cherry-picking who to assist but are being directed on who to assist by Covid-19 taskforces which were established to ensure that spearhead and upscale the country’s state of preparedness,” Sabwe said.