At least 3200 Bulawayo families benefitted from the Urban Food Assistance and Livelihoods programme (UFAL) this August. This came as a response to the Government’s call to address the 2019/2020 peak hunger period in Zimbabwe. Communities who got assistance from UFAL include Queens Park East and Kingsdale (Ward 2), Entumbane (Ward 10), Njube, Lobengula Old and Lobhengula Extension from (Ward 12), Pumula North and 4 Peri Urban villages (Methodist, Robert Sinyoka, Mazwi and St Peters) from Ward 17. Each household received 40 kg mealie-meal, 4 litres cooking oil, 5,5 kg soya chunks and 4,5 kg sugar beans.
UFAL falls under the Food Security and Nutrition thematic area on Hope for a Child In Christ organisation (HOCIC).
In an interview with our communications officer, UFAL Project Officer Kudzai Mpofu said the program is driven by Sustainable Development Goal 2 of achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 and they are trying to serve the communities to curb hunger and poverty.
“We are serving a total of 3200 households and we are also assisting Entembeni (Old People’s Home) and Ekuphumuleni (Old People Home) with food baskets to complement their needs.”
“We are assisting the old aged, child headed households, people living with disabilities and the chronically ill that have no one assisting them,”Kudzai Mpofu said.
Zimbabwe is facing one of its worst El Nino induced drought projected to last for the next five years. The World Food Programme reported in 2019 that atleast eight of Zimbabwe’s 59 districts have acute malnutrition rates of over five per cent, which is unprecedented. Linked to this, child deaths from severe malnutrition have been rising in recent months. Consequentially, more than 3.3 million people in urban Zimbabwe are said to be food insecure by the end of 2020 as the effects of the COVID-19 and recent severe droughts continue to cripple the country.
Mpofu also bemoaned people who do not abide to the COVID-19 regulations as she revealed that it is one of the challenges they are facing in doing their project. She however said that they enforce strict WHO guidelines that any beneficiary without a mask will not receive their entitlements.
“The major problem we have is with people not adhering to COVID-19 regulations and that is maintaining social distancing, we however do net give food baskets to beneficiaries who do not adhere to the stipulated COVD 19 regulations,”she said.
Each and every household received 4 litres cooking oil, 40kg maize meal, 5.5 kg soya chunks and 4.5 kg sugar beans. She said beneficiaries are giving thanks to this movement.
“Most of them are giving thanks to HOCIC and LDSC. They are truly grateful for the food distributions in these difficult times. Some have also given testimonies of improved health and nutrition.”
“They continue to shower the organisation and officers with blessings praying that it doesn’t come to an end,” said Mpofu.
One of the beneficiaries identified as Gogo MaPhiri said she ran out of words to express gratitude.
“I feel like crying because God has seen my problems as I am a widow and all my children are no longer with us,” she said.
“I am now looking after my grandchildren, and there was nothing to eat at home,” said Gogo MaPhiri.
UFAL is set to conclude its 2020 upscale in October with 3200 households still benefitting.