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Japan to help boost resilience in Zimbabwe

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HARARE – The Government of Japan has announced a contribution to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) of US$1.5 million to help vulnerable people in Zimbabawe develop assets to improve livelihoods and ensure food security in their communities. The contribution comes at a time when parts of Zimbabwe are facing another poor growing season due to drought.

“Japan’s contribution comes at a critical time,” said WFP Country Director Sory Ouane. “Not only will it help us meet people’s immediate needs, but it will enable us to provide vulnerable people with the means to work their way out of food insecurity and build a future free from hunger.”

Japan’s timely contribution will bring relief to the most affected communities in Zvishavane and Mwenezi districts.

Under WFP’s Productive Asset Creation programme, due to start in May 2015, community members are given either food or cash while they work on irrigation or water harvesting schemes that will give them an income as well as the resources to better withstand shocks associated with climate change.

“Japan is pleased to be able to make a contribution to WFP,” said the Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, H.E. Mr. Yoshinobu Hiraishi. “We hope it will go a long way in helping bridge current food gaps as well as strengthening people’s resilience against future food shocks.”

This assistance comes in the wake of H.E. President Mugabe’s recent meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan on the occasion of the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Since 2012, WFP has helped create nearly 1,000 community assets, such as irrigation schemes, fish-ponds and animal health centres, in more than 25 rural districts. For 2015, WFP requires some US$10.7 million to run its asset creation activities in 10 priority districts between May and December. While Japan’s contribution is most welcome, additional resources are urgently required to allow WFP to roll out assistance in all areas envisaged under the programme.

The Government of Japan is one of the largest donors in Zimbabwe. Since 2010, it has provided more than US$43 million of humanitarian and development assistance through WFP and other agencies.