Where We’re Fighting Hunger: Zimbabwe

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Zimbabwe, which means “big house of stone”, has been anything but stable in recent years…

Fast Facts:

  • Area-comparative: Slightly larger than Montana
  • Population: 13.2 million
  • Religion: Syncretic (combination of Christian and indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, Indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim/other 1%
  • Natural resources: Coal, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, lithium, tin, and platinum
  • Population below poverty line: 68% (2004)
  • Access to clean water: 81%

CULTURE

Food: The major grain for consumption in Zimbabwe is maize.  After grinding, the flour is cooked into a thick porridge commonly paired with green vegetables or meat. Seasonal foods include: boiled or roasted groundnuts, maize, fruits, termites, and caterpillars. Dried fish is also a common snack.

Sports: The country’s national sport is soccer. The Zimbabwe national soccer team is one of the rising soccer powerhouses in Africa and the team often qualifies to play in the African Cup and World Cup competitions. Other popular sports include track and field, golf, cricket, rugby, wrestling, boxing, netball, tennis, and horse racing.

Music: The mbira (sometimes referred to as the thumb piano) plays a large role in Zimbabwean rhythms and melodies. The mbira consists of a wooden board, staggered with attached metal keys you pluck with your fingers.

Education: Zimbabwe has an adult literacy rate of approximately 90%, which is among the highest in Africa. However, in July of 2011, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) declared that the education system is on the verge of collapsing due to a critical shortage of teachers, school supplies, and morale.

WORLD VISION’S WORK IN ZIMBABWE

World Vision began working in Zimbabwe in 1973 with the beginnings of child sponsorship.  During the 1980s, World Vision provided assistance to drought-fleeing Mozambican refugees living in Zimbabwe. The growing sponsorship project emphasized education, nutrition, immunization, and health during the 1990s. World Vision has focused on agricultural development, loan programs for Zimbabwean entrepreneurs, HIV and AIDS education, and flood relief.

World Vision currently operates 21 development projects in Zimbabwe, including:

The HIV Prevention Project for School-Age Children: This program allows children who have lost a parent to HIV/ AIDS, to attend school. Project staff and local community members help to provide families with livestock to increase household income and allow for school fees to be paid. Children also receive life skills training that will educate them about HIV and AIDS prevention.

The Limpopo Water and Sanitation Program: This program seeks to provide safe water resources, hygienic equipment, and community training to more than 20,000 Zimbabwean people.

Vulnerable Group Feeding Program: This program aims to increase the accessibility, availability, and utilization of food among vulnerable households throughout the country. Goals for this project include distributing nearly 53,000 tons of food and commodities, advocating gender equality for women, and involving the community in all decision-making processes. More than 1.6 million men, women, and children will benefit.