Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report 17/2003

Humanitarian Assistance Modalities
The UN Resident/Humanitarian Co-ordinator issued the statement given below on humanitarian assistance modalities in Zimbabwe. The statement, issued on Wednesday, 10 September, was developed from a series of meetings held between the UN, Government, NGOs and donors, as part of building a shared understanding with all the parties involved in the humanitarian programme in Zimbabwe:

"The country is currently facing food shortages and a decreased capacity to provide essential social services by the Government. The Government of Zimbabwe therefore appealed to the international community for humanitarian assistance during the period of 2003/04.

The UN recognizes the challenging environment the country faces in the delivery of social services, and will continue its support in mobilizing the international community around key humanitarian and recovery priorities, which have been identified together with the Government. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator also recognizes the continued collaborative efforts over the last year between the UN, the international community, the NGOs and the Government, so that the humanitarian requirements of the most vulnerable members of the population can be met.

In preparation for the implementation of the new Coordinated Appeal 2003/04, a defining meeting was held last week between the Government and a UN delegation. Both Government and the UN concurred that the design and the implementation of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe will correspond with internationally accepted and endorsed charters and conventions, in order to ensure that the assistance is credible, inclusive and transparent.

Humanitarian assistance will be directed solely by needs, and priority will be given to the most vulnerable. NGOs, in partnership with communities and their local structures, will be responsible for the selection of beneficiaries.

All parties will recognize the neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian assistance.

The Government of Zimbabwe is responsible for creating conditions conducive to the safe and secure implementation of humanitarian activities and the protection of humanitarian staff throughout the country. This includes the security of all humanitarian personnel (national and international) as well as assets belonging to humanitarian agencies.

The Government confirmed the need for continued consultative meetings with all stakeholders, in order to ensure the effective implementation of humanitarian assistance. The UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator will continue his consultations on strengthening appropriate monitoring of humanitarian assistance across the country.

The Government issued on August 14, 2003 a policy paper on the operations of NGOs with the intention to improve on the shortcomings, which were experienced in the humanitarian and recovery programmes in 2002/03. The Government has assured the UN that the new policy will not interfere with humanitarian operations over the coming year.

In order to ensure efficient and equitable distribution of relief items, distributions will be carried out by humanitarian agencies and organizations, in line with the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between the Government and WFP, and other relevant MoU's signed with implementing partners."

Subsequently, on 15 September the UN facilitated the initiation of a new round of collaborative meetings between Government and donors. Frank discussions were held regarding the current humanitarian context and the need for all stakeholders to respond quickly to the current priorities. In the interests of transparency and information sharing by all parties, it was agreed to continue the collaboration meetings on a bi-weekly basis, with the next meeting occurring on 29 September. In addition the technical working group meetings will be attended by government representatives, so that context analysis and information is shared at all times between the Government, NGOs and the UN Agencies.

UN Resident/Humanitarian Co-ordinator Victor Angelo requested all parties to recognize the humanitarian imperative, and protect the people of Zimbabwe from potential suffering.

Minister July Moyo expressed gratitude for the support the people of Zimbabwe had received in the past year, and the continued collaborative efforts between the Government and the international community.

Current WFP Activities

Some 1.1 million Zimbabweans received food aid from WFP during August. WFP is now scaling up operations as whole communities have exhausted their food stocks. Food needs are expected to increase sharply over the next seven months before the April 2004 harvest. The WFP food aid programme reached rural populations in 31 districts in August, up from 22 districts in the post-harvest season in May. Assistance will increase to cover 36 districts in September. WFP has five major field offices in Bulawayo (covering the Matebeleland provinces and one district in Midlands Province), Harare (covering the three northern provinces of the Mashonaland region and three districts in Midlands Province), Masvingo (Masvingo Province and one district in Midlands Province) and Mutare (Manicaland Province), in addition to a logistics office in Beitbridge. All these offices are operating as normal, despite some contrary media reports.

Over 27,000 malnourished children are currently receiving assistance through WFP urban feeding programming in the cities of Harare and Bulawayo. The WFP feeding programme is now supporting 20 of 33 clinics in Harare city. The latest clinics to start the programme since the beginning of September are in Hatfield, Sunningdale, Waterfalls, Mabelreign, Marlborough and Dziverasekwa. Nursing staff shortages have created a challenge for the urban feeding programme. A large number of Zimbabwe's nursing corps has migrated within the last two years in search of better living and work conditions. The consequence of the staff shortage is that mothers have to queue for long periods before their children, and themselves are attended to, thus contributing to high default rates. One of WFP's partner NGOs has initiated a joint awareness campaign with the local church to encourage elderly caregivers of orphans to attend the clinics so that the children can receive food assistance.

In Matabeleland, WFP is working with local AIDS committees and NGOs to spread AIDS awareness messages whenever communities gather for food distribution activities. WFP plans to partner with more organisations to support the AIDS awareness process in both rural and urban areas. HIV/AIDS is deepening an already desperate food shortage by carrying away most of the able-bodied generation. Among the most vulnerable households targeted for food assistance are those supporting orphans, those headed by children or the elderly and those with terminally ill breadwinners. The rising vulnerability in the urban areas needs assessment, and the next round of ZimVAC will be most helpful.

C-SAFE Assistance Programme in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a member of the Consortium for Southern Africa's Food Emergency (C-SAFE), along with Malawi and Zambia. In Zimbabwe, the programme is still in the emergency mode and is continuing with general and supplementary feeding, while the latter countries have moved further along toward a recovery programme.

C-SAFE, which is a complementary pipeline to World Food Programme (WFP), is focusing on relief and recovery over a period of three years. The three strategic objectives and stages of the consortium are to save lives, to make sure that communities and families increase their productive assets, and to ensure that every household is better prepared to deal with an emergency the next time there is a disaster.

"Due to the current food crisis, Zimbabwe is mainly concentrating on the first objective of saving lives. We have, however, made great progress on the second objective through food for work programmes that have already begun in many areas," said the C-SAFE coordinator for Zimbabwe, Derick Brock.

The consortium is also working on a pilot market assistance program targeting vulnerable groups in the urban area of Bulawayo, as part of raising access to cereals by vulnerable households. This market assistance program will involve selling of locally milled sorghum in the high-density suburbs. Local residents' associations will monitor the operations.

C-SAFE is operating in nine districts in the country where over 36,000 metric tonnes of food have been distributed to over 425,500 people since January.

The UN RRU, as part of its function to assist in the coordination and monitoring of emergency humanitarian assistance delivery in the country, has just completed an assessment of the impact of the C-SAFE programme at the community level, and the report will be available in due course.

Workshop on Fortification of Food Aid

The Seminar and Workshop on Food Aid Fortification were held on 8th September (for the seminar) and 9th – 10th September for the workshop. These are part of a series of events on food fortification awareness and capacity building, initiated by the WFP Regional Bureau for Southern Africa and the Micronutrient Initiative (MI). Participants to the seminar and workshop included representatives from the Government, Donors, UN agencies, NGOs, the private sector and academia.

The objectives of the seminar and workshop were to create awareness regarding the role of micronutrients and food fortification in good nutrition; to create insights/capacity with regard to basic technical issues related to food fortification; to review current intervention strategies at national level and to discuss opportunities for WFP food aid fortification in Zimbabwe. Recommendations from the workshop focused on the fortification of WFP food aid and build on the national strategy laid out at the multi-stakeholder Workshop on Food Fortification organized by the Ministry of Health & Child Welfare, last July.

Relief Assistance in Agriculture

FAO has just made a preliminary analysis of the agricultural inputs for which the humanitarian community has obtained funds to date. Information gathered through the agriculture sectoral co-ordination group indicates that NGOs have so far secured funds to provide agricultural assistance to slightly over 590,000 vulnerable households. In terms of inputs, this assistance should provide approximately 4,300MT of maize seed (including 2,560MT of OPVs and 1,640MT of hybrid; a smaller portion is not yet defined in terms of varieties). It should also provide approximately 2,400MT of small grains' seeds (millet and sorghum), bean seeds (approx. 1,100MT), cowpea (440MT) groundnuts (140MT) and vegetable seeds (over 8MT). The highest coverage to this stage is mainly directed to the southern and western areas of the country (Masvingo Province, Matabeleland South and North, and parts of Midlands Province). Along with the provision of inputs, several other types of assistance are planned, including training/extension services, provision of inputs through a voucher and fairs mechanism, support to draft power necessities.

Besides these confirmed pledges, several NGOs are still negotiating funding for additional interventions with major donors. Information on the development of the overall humanitarian assistance program in agriculture is regularly compiled and updated by the agricultural co-ordination group.

GoZ has announced new maize seed prices: ZW$52,500 for a 25kg bag, ZW$21,000/10kg bag, ZW$21,000/10kg bag, and ZW$4,834/2kg bag.

SPHERE Workshop on Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Humanitarian Standards

A SPHERE workshop on the humanitarian charter and minimum humanitarian standards was held in Harare from 3rd to 5th September, 2003 and was attended by representatives from government, UN, NGOs, donors and the Red Cross Movement. The workshop was hosted by UNDP/OCHA and facilitated by the SPHERE Project and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It was aimed at increasing the participants' knowledge about the SPHERE project and how to use this knowledge to improve the quality and accountability of humanitarian interventions in Zimbabwe. One secondary aim was to increase the level of shared understanding of the humanitarian situation in the country among the participants.

The SPHERE Project was launched by the Red Cross and leading international NGOs in 1997 and was an attempt to strengthen coordination of design and implementation, and increase trust between the people afflicted by disasters and those agencies providing assistance. The workshop, which stressed acceptable standards of humanitarian interventions and greater accountability to local structures and communities, was considered timely, given the need for more trust to be built between the government and the humanitarian agencies.

By the end of the workshop, participants felt that they had obtained more knowledge and a greater sense of duty in bringing assistance to people in need in Zimbabwe, in an ethical and accountable way. The Save the Children Fund (UK) and the Civil Protection Unit had organized similar SPHERE workshops in the past, and this workshop targeted a new group of stakeholders who had not undergone the learning, yet were playing a key role in humanitarian assistance delivery.

A number of agreements were reached and follow up activities recommended including the following;

(a) The government to be the main custodian of the SPHERE minimum standards and should monitor adherence to these by all humanitarian agencies.

(b) Training of more staff from both government and humanitarian agencies in the SPHERE project generally, and the Code of Conduct in particular.

(c) The SPHERE minimum standards should inform organizations' programmes and policies.

(d) SPHERE training to be incorporated in the humanitarian training curricula, particularly within Government training institutions.

Commemoration of the International Day of Peace

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) is coordinating the preparations for the commemoration of the International Day of Peace, which according to the UN General Assembly should be observed on 21st September of each year. The International Day of Peace is observed as a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence.

In Zimbabwe, the commemoration will begin on Saturday 20th September and continue into Sunday 21st September. Several events are planned to highlight the Day including the following:

a) A Peace Prayer Ceremony will be held at the Harare Girls High School on 20/09/03 from 10:00am to 12:30pm and will be attended by leaders and representatives from various religious and faith traditions.

b) In the afternoon of the same day (20/09/03), from 2:30pm to 3:30pm, and at the same venue, members of the Chipawo Zimbabwe Academy of Arts Education for Development (ZAAED) will perform a drama "Peace and Peace Always", written and directed by Mr. S.J. Chifunyise.

All those interested in attending these planned activities are most welcome and can contact the UNIC director for more information.

UNDP and ORAP sign MoU for Pilot Project in Matebeleland South Province

When the Matebeleland South region was declared a disaster area, the UN Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator requested for a UN mission to the area. A number of specific issues were identified as priority problems in the mission report, "UN Assessment Mission Report to Matebeleland South Province". Furthermore, at the Provincial Workshop to present the report, the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator committed approximately ZW$35 million as an initial input to the most urgent programme identified by the workshop participants.

As a follow-up to this commitment, UNDP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NGO named, Organisation of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP), to carry out a project aimed at rehabilitation of specified boreholes and establishment of community nutrition gardens in Gwanda Rural District. It is expected that this initial input will be recognized as seed money, which will be followed by other donor commitments in the province using the priority guidelines and project proposals developed by the joint UN/Government team at the Matebeleland South Disaster Response Workshop (proceedings available from RRU).

Measles Outbreak in Manicaland Province

An outbreak of measles has been reported in Mutare District within Manicaland Province. Since onset at the beginning of July, a total of 40 cases were reported. 68% of the cases are below 5 years of age and only 3 (8%) have been vaccinated. The reported cases include twelve deaths which could not be laboratory confirmed since all the children died in the community. The outbreak is centered in the Marange community of the Apostolic faith sect, who do not believe in modern medicine -- including vaccination.

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare personnel conducted an urgent vaccination programme targeting all children between nine months and 14 years, with a total of 2000 children having been vaccinated to date. The surrounding communities should also be protected through vaccination of children (9 months to 14 years).

Zimbabwe adopted a policy on the elimination measles in the country through outreach and static vaccination programmes. The EPI programme has been one of the flagship programmes run by the Zimbabwe government but currently it has been severely affected by the current humanitarian crisis coupled with the severe economic recession. The outreach programme has been the most affected component in the face of the unavailability of fuel, finance and transport. This has resulted in lack of access to basic health services particularly to those populations that have been resettled, thus making them more susceptible to disease outbreaks. The country has experienced a number of disease epidemics in the past 12 months threatening the lives of thousands of children and other vulnerable sections of the population.

It is apparent from such outbreaks that there is an urgent need to strengthen the EPI programme through provision of adequate transport, gas and vaccines to conduct mop up vaccination campaigns in outbreak prone areas.

Information Reference of Humanitarian Assistance Meetings September 2003

NB: Meetings are by invitation only.
Please contact the focal point person if you wish information about any of these meetings

16th-17th Sept '03
Humanitarian Principles Workshop
Contact: Loretta Bismark,

19th Sept '03
Food Aid Co-ordination Meeting
Contact: Darlington Sarupinda,

22nd Sept '03
HIV/AIDS Working Group
Contact: Hege Waagan,

23rd Sept '03
UNCT Meeting
Contact: Annika Rosing,

24th Sept '03
WFP/IP Meeting
Contact: Darlington Sarupinda,

25th Sept '03
Child Protection WG
Contact: Maud Bringmann,

25th Sept '03
Emergency Agric. Inputs Mtg.
Contact: Morris Mudiwa,

25th Sept '03
HC and NGO Monthly Meeting
Contact: Annika Rosing,

29th Sept '03
GoZ/donor Bi-monthly Meeting
Contact: Annika Rosing,