The climate crisis is clearly felt in Zimbabwe: droughts and floods repeatedly destroy large parts of the harvest. Storms like cyclone "Idai" regularly cause additional severe damage. As a result, more and more people are living in poverty and hunger is growing.
For 30 years, Help has been strengthening the self-help capacities of the local people: We promote sustainable agriculture and thus secure the livelihoods of needy families.
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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
Africa's breadbasket is empty
Every year, Zimbabwe's population suffers more from the consequences of climate change. Great droughts and heat waves destroy the harvest. Rainfall is distributed extremely unevenly and causes floods that inundate roads, houses and fields. This alternation between drought and flood threatens people's livelihoods, as around 70 percent of households in Zimbabwe depend on crops.
Thousands of people were left homeless after the severe Cyclone Idai in March 2019 and the subsequent floods. Crops were destroyed just before the start of the harvest season – a disaster as people suffer from food shortages due to crop failures. There is hardly anything left of the former breadbasket of Africa.
Added to this is the severe economic crisis in which the country finds itself. High unemployment and extreme inflation are the reason why so many people in Zimbabwe live below the poverty line. Supply shortages are the order of the day: the availability of water, basic foodstuffs, petrol and electricity is steadily decreasing.
Diversity as the key to independence
Help has been active in Zimbabwe for 30 years. In the beginning, our aid work focused on emergency relief measures in the wake of the severe drought in 1992, followed by numerous projects in the areas of nutrition, education and health.
Today, our projects focus primarily on economic strengthening and overcoming the climate crisis. In particular, we support smallholder farmers in rural areas. We distribute seeds that grow particularly well in dry soils and provide training in water-saving vegetable cultivation. We also train young people in chicken farming and provide them with laying hens. With the eggs they produce, the smallholders can feed their families or offer them for sale.
Honey is also a good product to trade in Zimbabwe. That is why, thanks to Help, more than 700 smallholder farmers manage their own bee colonies. The sale of honey provides people with a secure livelihood and enough income to pay for school fees and medical expenses, for example.
An important aspect of our work is the "imitation effect". Smallholder farmers who have undergone our training in chicken farming and soil cultivation often earn three times as much as others. As so-called "lead farmers", they then share their knowledge with their neighbours and become role models. In this way, we achieve a far-reaching impact.
- 7 million people in Zimbabwe are dependent on humanitarian aid. (2020)
- 5.7 million people do not have enough to eat. (2021)
- 27 percent of children are underdeveloped due to malnutrition.
- 17 percent of people are unemployed. (2021)
- 270,000 people were affected by Cyclone Idai's impact. (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