FAO Regional Office for Africa

The Programme Manager - Agriculture, Private Sector and Trade of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Zimbabwe, David Palacios and the Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution (SPAD) - Matabeleland South, Latiso Dhlamini-Maseko, recently visited Mangwe and Matobo Districts in Matabeleland South Province to assess the impact of the EU funded “Enhanced Resilience for Vulnerable Households in Zimbabwe (ERVHIZ)” project. 

The project is implemented by the Government of Zimbabwe with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with UNICEF and local implementing partners.

“The ERVHIZ project is integrating agriculture, nutrition and WASH, demonstrating the multi-sectoral nature of resilience building in the rural communities. The project is contributing to the well-being of households in vulnerable situations in the face of economic and climate induced shocks and stresses in Zimbabwe,” said the FAO ERHVIZ Project Coordinator, Themba Manjiva.  

Under the project, FAO is leading the agriculture component promoting improved animal health and production, labor-saving post-harvest practices, water-saving climate smart irrigation technologies, regenerative community-driven rangeland management and production of diverse foods that enable rural communities to have better nutrition while improving their livelihoods.

“It is very important for us to come here and see for ourselves the situation on the ground. We greatly appreciate the collaboration with the Government and the implementing partners. The EU has always stood by the Zimbabwean people and will continue supporting the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure we build resilient communities,” said the Programme Manager of the EU Delegation, Palacios.

The Delegation saw first-hand how FAO and UNICEF were jointly working together to support the Government to build resilient communities while addressing the most pressing priorities of the rural communities in Matabeleland South.

The visiting mission also observed how the UN family and other partners including; Christian Care, Goal Zimbabwe, Sustainable Agriculture Technology, Save the Children,  Nutrition Action Zimbabwe (NAZ) and Welthungerhilfe, are working together with different Government departments to support the most vulnerable communities with agriculture, nutrition and WASH interventions.

“We have done a lot as a team, our Government officers are working hand in hand with partners to develop our community. It is something which can indeed be replicated across the country. To EU, thank you for your donations that made this partnership possible,” said Latiso Dhlamini-Maseko the Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution - Matabeleland South.

The Delegation met several communities, during the visit, who are receiving support through the ERVHIZ project. In Matobo, the Delegation spoke to Tsedzembuya Farmer Field School (FFS), the farmers show-cased the integration role played by Farmer Field Schools, Sanitation Action Groups and Nutrition Care group members at household level.

In Mangwe, the Delegation visited Ukufuya Kulezunzo group- interacting with the Fodder FFS farmers, SAG and Care Group, Silima Primary School hand washing facility and visiting the solar powered water pumping unit.

“I have to commend the model of the FFS we have seen from trenches, from infiltration pits, from fodder production, organic fertilizers, you name it. And also building nutrition, building hygiene practices everything is kind of happening, livelihoods is cool.  It’s a good model,” commented David Palacios.

David also spoke about how pleased he was to witness the progress that was being made to build resilient communities on the region. He took the opportunity to thank the project coordinators for inviting him and Government officials to witness the impact of the project, while calling upon the Government to take up the good practices beyond the project area.

“I want to commend the project for bringing all the Government administration levels from the local to the province to the central to see, witness and understand better. It’s up to the Government at different scales to take up both the good and bad lessons. EU will continue to support resilience but not in the scale we were doing because of funding constraints,” said David.

To build on the work that ERVHIZ was doing the SPAD - Dhlamini-Maseko appreciated that the ERVHIZ project contributed to the Government`s blue-print, National Development Strategy 1. She called upon all the provincial and district Government officials to use their devolution funds to scale up the interventions and for communities to safeguard and guard jealously the infrastructural components of the project.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.