Posts Tagged: Zimbabwe

USAID Director of Southern African Affairs visits Amalima to evaluate El Niño’s impact on food security in Zimbabwe

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On Thursday, January 7, USAID Director of Southern African Affairs, Bradley Bessire, and Deputy Mission Director, Bruce Abrams, visited Amalia project sites in the Gwanda district as part of a two-day field visit for Mr. Bessire in Zimbabwe. The trip’s objective was to contextualize the USAID/Zimbabwe portfolio and to evaluate the scope and severity of the current lean season and El Niño’s impact on food security in Zimbabwe. The USAID delegation first visited two completed Amalima Cash For Assets (CFA) initiatives: the rehabilitated Mtshabezi dip tank and newly constructed Mbuyane Dam. Visitors also met with the Vukuzenzele Villiage Savings & Loan (VS&L) group and spent time at a distribution at the Mtshabezi Clinic.

Cash for Assets is a component of Amalima’s strategy to building community resilience that gets vital cash in the hands of vulnerable households and supports Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) plans in the program’s four target districts. Amalima pays beneficiaries a daily wage for labor in support of the production of shared community assets, as prioritized in the community’s DRR plan. The Mtshabezi dip tank, one of these shared assets, now helps prevent tick-borne diseases for 1,800 cattle belonging to 200 households, in turn strengthening livelihoods in a place where the climate is not favorable for crop production. The Mbuyane dam will provide a source of water for around 3,000 livestock to drink from in an area where access to and availability of water is a significant challenge.

The USAID delegation met with the Vukuzenzele Villiage Savings & Loan (VS&L) group, which includes 17 women using group savings to engage in poultry production as a joint income-generating activity. The group rears indigenous chickens, and has saved more than $1,400 to date. The members of Vukuzenzele VS&L also participate in Amalima conservation agriculture (CA) training and have worked together this season to ensure that each member’s plot is prepared using CA techniques.

The delegation also visited a food distribution at Mtshabezi Clinic, which highlighted Amalima’s response to the low 2014/2015 rainfall season and resulting poor harvests.  In 2015, Amalima received USAID approval to provide an additional protective ration of lentils, sorghum, and fortified vegetable oil during lean season months (November – April) to supplement the existing individual beneficiary ration (fortified corn soy blend and vegetable oil). This helped to ensure that increased food insecurity and ration sharing brought on by the drought does not hinder program progress in preventing chronic malnutrition. At a nearby homestead, our USAID visitors also participated in a healthy cooking demonstration using a fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly Amalima eco-stove.

Deputy Mission Director Bruce Abrams stressed to communities that Amalima’s purpose and USAID’s aim is to shift from dependence on food assistance towards complete self-sufficiency through improved agricultural and livestock production, income generation and community resilience. Throughout the visit, the current El Niño drought conditions were a topic of interest. The group solicited feedback from each community the Amalima team visited, taking account of their experiences and comparisons with past seasons.

The drought makes food security an even greater issue for 2016.

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CNFA President and CEO Tours Four Programs

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On November 5-7, CNFA President and CEO Sylvain Roy visited the CNFA Amalima project in Zimbabwe, funded through USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, to engage with staff and to see program activities firsthand. Roy first stopped at the Nkunzi clinic in the Tsholotsho District of Zimbabwe where Amalima is rehabilitating clean drinking water sources and installing 10 new pit latrines which will allow 1,500 men, women and children from the surrounding areas to access clean water and facilities. From there, Roy traveled to the site of Amalima gully reclamation activities where nearly 500 community members are working together to restore communal grazing lands. These areas, compromised by the effects of severe erosion, are left with deep gullies that break up the landscape and pose threat to cattle. Amalima guided community members to construct stone and wood retaining walls and plant sisal to stop further erosion and reduce the flow of water. On his final day in country, Roy met with the USAID Mission staff, where they expressed their appreciation for Amalima’s accomplishments and look forward to the program’s continued success.

From November 8-12, Roy traveled to Ethiopia to visit two CNFA programs: the Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development (AGP-LMD) project and the Commercial Farm Service Program (CFSP). While in country, Roy met with USAID staff to discuss the successes and milestones of each project and then met with each teams’ staff members. After meeting with staff, Roy remarked, “Both AGP-LMD and CFSP are excellent projects with strong staff and management capacities who are continually adapting to implementing constraints and opportunities. It is clear to see how both programs are making positive contributions to the Feed the Future initiatives in Ethiopia. I look forward to the opportunity to return to Ethiopia to visit program activities and grantees in the future.”

From November 12-14, Roy traveled to Georgia to visit two ongoing CNFA Programs: The Restoring Efficiency to Agriculture Production (REAP) program funded by USAID and the Rural Economic Development (RED) program funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Since 2006, CNFA has implemented seven agricultural development programs benefiting more than 200,000 smallholder farmers and more than 300 agribusinesses in Georgia. While in Georgia, Roy discussed CNFA’s past and present successes with U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Mr. Richard Norland, USAID Mission Staff and the Food Safety and Rural Development Attaché of the European Union Delegation to Georgia, Mr. Juan Echanove. Roy also visited two of CNFA’s past grantees from the MCC funded Agribusiness Development Activity (ADA): Farm Service Center in Gurjaani, Agrospero, and a milk processing factory in Tibaani village of Kakheti region. In addition, Roy visited one of REAP’s 37 recently approved grant projects that will establish a modern farm service center that will benefit more than 6,000 farmers from Signagi district of Kakheti Region.

From November 15-17, Roy continued his tour with a visit to CNFA’s newest USAID funded program, the Agricultural Support to Azerbaijan Project where he met with USAID and program staff.


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