The effects of the climate crisis are omnipresent in Zimbabwe: droughts and floods frequently destroy large parts of the harvest. In March 2019, Cyclone "Idai" caused additional severe damage. Help promotes sustainable agriculture and improves the living conditions of families in need.
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“Help has supported me with setting up my business. I received laying hens and training in chicken breeding and egg production. By selling the eggs, I can finish my family’s house and pay for my children’s schooling,” Maria from Zimbabwe
A race against the clock
Each year people in Zimbabwe are suffering more and more from the effects of climate change. The El Niño weather phenomenon is the reason behind this: it causes long droughts and heatwaves that destroy farmers’ harvests. Rainfall is very uneven and causes severe flooding that swamps roads, houses and fields. This fluctuation between drought and floods threatens Zimbabweans’ livelihoods because 70 per cent of households depend on the harvests.
After the severe Cyclone Idai in March 2019 and the subsequent floods, thousands of people in Zimbabwe were left homeless. Crops were destroyed just before the start of the harvest season - a catastrophe, as people suffer from food shortages due to crop failures.
Currently, there is a drought that has triggered the worst hunger crisis in ten years. One in two people in Zimbabwe is suffering acute hunger. There is nothing left of Africa's breadbasket: pictures of dried-up Victoria Falls and dying elephants have gone around the world. The water shortage is noticeable everywhere. People wait in line for hours in front of supermarkets to buy drinking water.
The COVID-19 pandemic further worsens the situation. The country is already in a steadily growing economic crisis. High unemployment of over 80 percent and extreme inflation are the reasons why so many people in Zimbabwe live below the poverty line. Supply shortages are very common: The availability of basic foodstuffs, gasoline and medicines decreases drastically every day.
Diversity as the key to independence
All our projects in Zimbabwe help people to overcome the effects of climate change. We focus on supporting small farmers in the rural regions of the country. We distribute seeds that grow well in dry soil and provide training on saving water when growing vegetables.
Diversity is our approach to combating poverty. We have trained over 3,000 farmers in chicken breeding and provided them with laying hens. A youth program will support 300 additional young people between the ages of 18 and 30. These small farmers can feed their families with the eggs they produce or offer them for sale. We also support them with marketing. Selling honey is another good trade in Zimbabwe. Thanks to Help, over 700 small farmers are now raising their own bee colonies. Alongside regular food, this also gives people a secure income, and they have enough money to pay for things such as school fees and medical bills.
An important aspect of our work is known as the imitation effect. Small farmers who complete our training courses in chicken breeding and soil cultivation often generate three times as much as others. They then share their knowledge with their neighbours and become models for their communities. This increases the impact of our work.
Immediately after Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe, Help initiated emergency relief measures for around 6,000 people. The cyclone destroyed 4,700 ha of agricultural land in the Chimanimani and Chipinge regions of Zimbabwe alone. Help distributes seeds so that people can replant their fields. In this way, Help is sustainably improving the living conditions of 2,000 families. We have also assisted 350 families in rebuilding their homes.
- 6.8 million people in Zimbabwe depend on humanitarian aid. (03/2020)
- 5.6 million people do not have enough to eat. (02/2021)
- 27 percent of children are underdeveloped due to malnutrition.
- 80 percent of people are unemployed. (04/2019)
- 270,000 people are affected by Cyclone Idai's impact. (04/2019)
- Helped over 30,000 people grow sufficient harvests
- Trained 1,700 small farmers in water-conserving agricultural methods. They then share their knowledge with their neighbours
- Founded 15 committees to market harvests at fair prices
- Trained 3,000 farmers in chicken breeding and provided them with materials to build chicken coops. They now have a secure income from the sale of eggs
- Provided over 1,700 pupils with training on sustainable agriculture and raised their awareness of environmental issues and climate change
- Trained 798 small farmers as beekeepers