ACT Appeal Zimbabwe: Famine Relief - AFZW41 (Revision 1)


Appeal Target: US$ 1,602,520
Balance Requested from ACT Alliance: US$ 1,217,361

Geneva, 20 January 2004

Dear Colleagues,

The situation in Zimbabwe continues to be of major concern. The humanitarian situation is worrying due to a combination of factors, including the continued economic decline, major policy constraints (e.g. land reform process), insufficient expenditure for social services and the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It is difficult to predict the evolution of the crisis ahead of the Presidential elections scheduled for March 2005 and of the security situation, which may impact on this ACT Appeal, especially in the politically sensitive rural areas. ACT member Christian Care (CC) Zimbabwe, through this appeal which runs until May 2005, will contribute towards the community coping mechanisms - improvement of health and nutrition for the most vulnerable members of the communities by provision of food and support services in the districts of Lupane and Nkayi in Matebeleland North province.

For the sake of brevity this revision of AFZW41 includes the Christian Care proposal only. This proposal complements the activities initiated by ACT member Lutheran Development Service (see original appeal issued on 19 October 2004).

Project Completion Date:

LDS - 31 March 2005
CCare - 30 May 2005

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested
Christian Care
Total Target US ($)
Appeal Targets
Less: Pledges/Contr Recd
Balance Requested from ACT Alliance

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:
Account Number – 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
8, rue du Rhône
P.O. Box 2600
1211 Geneva 4
Swift address: UBSW CHZH12A

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.


  • Christian Care, Zimbabwe.


Christian Care is an ecumenical organisation formed by churches and church related organisations in Zimbabwe. It was formed and registered as a welfare organisation in 1967 to assist the disadvantaged, the poor, uprooted and distressed. In executing its mandate, Christian Care seeks to improve the quality of life of the afore-mentioned vulnerable groups without any form of discrimination.

Before political independence in 1980, Christian Care was concerned with relief provision to political prisoners and the poorest of the poor. Other relief activities included drought relief, special emergencies and essential services for people displaced by the war. The country’s independence saw Christian Care expanding its programme portfolio to include rural development programmes such as food security improvement, water and sanitation development, nutrition and irrigation development programmes.

Christian Care continues to implement programmes aimed at alleviating the suffering of the needy. With the advent of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Christian Care joins other organisations and Governments in the fight against the scourge of HIV/AIDS by formulating and implementing policies and programmes that assist people affected and infected with the deadly disease.


The start of the season was fraught with problems of crop input shortages - crop seed such as maize, millet, and sorghum were in short supply. Inorganic fertilisers which most rural households depend on for better crop yields were also in short supply. The little that was available on the market was beyond reach of many rural households. AREX, for the first time in Zimbabwean farming history, encouraged farmers to resort to open pollinated varieties of crop seed. Short supply of crop inputs coupled with inadequate draught power contributed immensely to the small acreage that most rural farmers put to crops. In addition to its negative impact on food supplies, the drastic lack of foreign currency reserves is making it more and more difficult to import other essential goods and pay for essential services.

The 2003 / 2004 season started with good planting rains in late October 2003. All households that had received seed from both government and NGOs’ drought recovery programmes planted all the seed handouts. Mid November 2003, the situation turned for the worse when a dry spell characterised by scorching heat destroyed all the planted seed. The prolonged dry spell ended in January when another wet spell started. The rain fell incessantly causing water logging and leaching. The continuous rains shattered many households’ hopes of harvesting something from their late crop. The emergency situation in Zimbabwe is unique in that it is not the direct result of any one single factor such as drought or floods but rather the result of a combination of factors, not least of which are man-made. Zimbabwe has suffered three years of consecutive drought that has stretched the coping capacity of the people to breaking point. Compounding this has been political mismanagement, heightened by the chaotic fast track resettlement programme. Food production has dropped by more than 50% over the last five years.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic, with more than 30% of the population infected, has taken its greatest toll on the 15 to 49 year age groups. The embargo imposed by western countries has also had a negative bearing. Zimbabwe has entered its 6th year of economic decline with inflation rates exceeding 600%, unemployment in excess of 75% , education costs increased by at least 400% from 2003 to 2004 along with lack of access to agricultural inputs, essential services, qualified personnel and foreign currency. This situation cries out for support in ensuring that basic needs such as food security, water and sanitation, health and education are met.

The Land Reform Programme has turned the once vibrant Zimbabwean commercial agricultural industry upside down. Many experienced white commercial farmers have been driven off the prime agricultural land to make way for settling of black Zimbabweans. The fortunes of this industry have not been the same since the inception of this controversial land reform programme. The productivity from this sector has dwindled further threatening the food security situation in the country. The recession in agriculture has not only impacted negatively on the food security, but the rest of the country’s economy. Agriculture usually accounted for 40% of the national economy and at least 60% of the inputs in the manufacturing industry (Financial Gazette 21 – 26 November 2003). The production of tobacco has drastically fallen from 230 million kilograms of tobacco in 1999/2000 season to a paltry projected 60 million kilograms for this season according to the Financial Gazette of 21 to 26 November 2003.

The crisis in Zimbabwe has its own dynamics of causes and effects. What initially appeared as a food crisis in 2002 has turned into a major humanitarian emergency due to the deteriorating economy, constrained policy environment, increased exposure to climatic instability and not least HIV/AIDS pandemic. There seems to be a link between mortality rates from AIDS and reduction in school enrolment, productivity in the agricultural sector, and the overall functioning of the social service sector. HIV/AIDS increases the prevalence of sickness, undercutting household productivity and absorbing scarce resources.

FEWSNET report dated 14 February2004 estimates that this season a total of 800,000 to 900,000 MT of cereals was produced. This constitutes only 33 – 38 % of both human and livestock consumption. This means that the food insecurity situation that has haunted Zimbabwe for the past four years will continue unabated. Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) estimated that between January and March 2004, some 5.02 million people or 64% of Zimbabwe rural population of 7.8 million people and about 2.2 million urban people would be food insecure and in need of food aid (Zimbabwe Independent 26 March 2004; FEWSNET 7 and 11 January 2004) and currently, there are no solutions in sight to the food crisis in the country.

The country has been benefiting from food aid from both foreign and local agencies. The World Food Programme has played a pivotal role in making food available to the starving rural people in most of the rural areas during 2002 to 2004. Appeals for food assistance received lukewarm response from donors limiting WFP ability to meet the food needs of all food insecure households. Only 54% of the estimated 610,000 MT of emergency food aid for the 2003 / 2004 season had been secured by December 2003 (FEWSNET 13 February 2004).

Although most food commodities are available on the market, many households both rural and urban cannot afford them due to rampant inflation that has eroded the purchasing power of the households.

Zimbabwe had the third highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection (33% of adult population) in the world (SAFAIDS 2001). The Herald dated 16 March 2004 reported estimates of between 2,500 and 3,000 people dying weekly due to HIV/AIDS related illnesses and that more than 80% of all deaths of people in their prime age (25 – 45 years of age) are associated with the deadly disease. In the same report, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare estimates that at least 70% of all patients admitted to hospitals around the country are suffering an HIV/AIDS related problem. The cross cutting issue of HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness is another priority area in which many NGOs are involved. Interventions that recognise the plight of orphans, particularly with regards to their food security and education, are being advocated. Agencies such as FAO, UNICEF, WHO and WFP and government entities are taking the lead in assisting facilitation of a more co-ordinated approach to most of these interventions.

Health services are deteriorating from lack of funds, drugs and qualified staff. UNICEF has reported that 30% of all pregnant women are HIV positive, that 9% mother to child transmission exists and that infant mortality is 72% higher than it would have been without the pandemic. In 2003, the number of AIDS orphans was put at 761,000 and by 2005 this number is expected to exceed 1,100,000. Education costs are mounting with school levies increased from between 400% to 2000% in 2004, raising concerns for poor families and orphaned children. Such conditions place additional burdens on most vulnerable households, i.e., HIV/AIDS affected, orphans, widows and elderly-headed households.

The Government of Zimbabwe has recognised the significance of the disease and has put in place some mitigating measures. In May 2002 the HIV/AIDS was declared a national disaster. Earlier in 1999, the National Aids Council was established and launched the HIV/AIDS policy, which is now operational. A fund has been created by a 3% AIDS levy that is being administered on both public and private sector workers. The fund is used to assist in HIV/AIDS programmes and the National AIDS council has created structures to assist in the co-ordination of HIV/AIDS programmes.

ACT is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and supports communities in emergencies worldwide. The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

For further information please contact:
ACT Interim Director, Jenny Borden (phone +41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone + 41 79 203 6055)
ACT Program Officer, Michael Hyden (phone +41 22 791 6040 or mobile phone +41 79 433 0592)

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