WFP's resilience initiatives help allay water woes
A lot has changed for fifty four year old Jephias Sithole from Rumwanjiva, Mwenezi, since water has become more accessible as a result of the weir dams constructed through WFP’s Food Assistance for Assets programme (FFA). In Zimbabwe, drought is the most prevalent climate-related hazard. Its frequent occurrence has had significant consequences on access, livelihoods, and food security. In the last decade, dry spells have increased in frequency, intensity and extended impact due to climate change and have directly impacted farmers like Jephias’ daily lives. “Before the weir dam was built, I used to travel as far as 15 kilometers every day to fetch water for my livestock, and this was difficult but they’re the main source of my income, so I did what I had to do”, says Jephias.
The weir dams have increased access and availability of water and improved the natural environment around water basins. With improved access to water, Jephias saves both time and energy and he is able to spend more time working in his family garden and participating in other livelihood activities, such as those offered under the Zambuko Livelihoods Initiative. In Zimbabwe, WFP rolls out programmes that improve the food security of communities and enhance resilience to shocks. Not only have the people of Rumwanjiva received FFA support; they have also benefitted from Lean Season Complementary Activities under which a livestock dip tank and borehole were drilled, following consultations with the community. More than 1,500 cattle use this dip tank.
With continuous support from donors, Jephias and the community of Rumwanjiva receive support through WFP’s Zambuko Livelihoods Initiative, which focuses on increased social cohesion, improved agricultural production (crops and livestock), and improved access to finance and markets. WFP promotes an integrated approach to resilience building and seeks to improve smallholder farmers’ production, income and food security. Farmers now have access to village savings and loans associations, market linkages and trainings on appropriate seeds and agricultural practices.