For months now Zimbabwe has been witnessing severe drought caused by «El Niño». The population is at risk of famine. HEKS/EPER is providing emergency aid worth 350 000 francs to pay for food and seed for distressed small farmers, to improve and secure the supply of clean drinking water and to fund climate adaptation measures.
National state of emergency
Southern Africa has been hit particularly hard by the «El Niño» weather phenomenon. Zimbabwe's last rainy season brought just a quarter of the usual rainfall. The result has been a catastrophic drought with massive crop failures, dried-up springs, and thousands of livestock dying from thirst or hunger. The people too face an acute threat of famine and this prompted the Government, in February 2016, to declare a national state of emergency and call for international assistance.
Food rations for smallholder families
Together with its local partner organization «Fambidzanai Permaculture Center» (FPC), HEKS/EPER is providing 350 000 francs in emergency aid, initially up to the end of 2016. The money is being used in six communities in Matabeleland Province to buy food rations for smallholder families whose food supply is no longer assured owing to crop failures.
Securing water supplies
In return, able-bodied family members commit to working on community projects such as the building of dams to secure water supplies, improving irrigation systems and the planting of gardens with food crops. Plans also exist to improve sanitation in hospitals and to repair several bridges.
Adaptation to climate change
In addition, smallholder families also receive cereal seed varieties that are better suited for cultivation in dry regions than corn (maize), for example. Farmers are also trained in the use of sustainable, environment-friendly farming methods so as to be better prepared in future for the impacts of climate change on agriculture.