Japan rescues starving Zvishavane villagers

HARARE - More than 10 000 starving Zvishavane villagers are set to benefit from a $2,9 million Japanese government grant.

The grant is on the back of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability and Assessment Committee (ZimVac) identifying Zvishavane as one of Zimbabwe’s 20 most food insecure districts.

Japan’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yoshi Hiraishi, said the funds will be managed by the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Productive Asset Creation (Pac).

He said Pac seeks to promote long-term food security by enabling communities to create viable assets, such as weirs for irrigation.

“The weir can also be used for livestock. El Nino took an enormous toll on livestock and every effort must be made to regenerate the local herd,” Hiraishi.

“Our common objective is to free people from dependency on donations of food, but rather give them the means to sustainably produce their own so as to militate against unforeseen shocks, “he said.

He added that building resilience was key to achieving sustainable development and a hunger free future.

The ambassador said having the food distributed in his presence shows transparency in reaching the most vulnerable members of the community.

WFP’s country director, Eddie Rowe, told the Daily News that there is a robust system from selection of beneficiaries to registration and even processes that have been put in place for distribution.

Rowe said what is critical to understand is that by involving the community, you minimise chances of discriminating people from receiving food aid based on political affiliation or religion.

“We ask all our partners to comply with our mechanisms and if anyone has an issue they can call anonymously on our toll free number and lodge a complaint which we follow up on through investigations. Politicising food aid is, however, a difficult issue,” Rowe said.

Food aid distribution in Zimbabwe has been marred by politics.

A report released recently by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission revealed that Zanu PF members were the worst perpetrators of politicisation of food aid.

Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gera Sneller, has warned government against politicising food aid.

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