Grant aid boost for NGOs

JAPANESE envoy to Zimbabwe Toshiyuki Iwado yesterday inked three grant contracts to be funded by Tokyo in line with the Asian country’s sustainable development aid that started as way back as 1980.

The latest grants, which will be overseen by three local NGOs, will see one carrying out landmine clearance along the border with Mozambique, another involved in a project to improve a school in Bindura and the last one constructing a centre to house girls from abuse in Seke District.
The projects are hinged on improving the security of vulnerable groups in impoverished communities.

Speaking at the official ceremony in Harare on Thursday, Iwado reiterated Japan’s commitment to assisting Zimbabwe before imploring the contracted NGOs to effectively deliver the projects in the agreed timelines to ensure quick relief to the would-be beneficiaries.

“Today’s signing ceremony of the grant contracts is just a kick-off for these projects. I hope that the three important projects will be implemented in a transparent, smooth and effective way by the NGOs within one year. ..Ownership of the projects by the community is vital, through the NGOs, the local government and the community working together right from the start.

“With all stakeholders being in the driving seats and joining hands, they will be successful and benefit the target communities for many generations to come,” he said

The project for mine clearance earmarked for Mount Darwin and Rushinga districts in Mashonaland Central, will be undertaken by the internationally-renowned NGO, the Halo Trust (Halo). This initiative is expected to benefit at least 21 000 people by allowing access to safe water sources, land for animal grazing as well as allowing children to walk safely to school.

The Asian country, together with other supporting partners joined hands with Halo in a broader national strategy managed by the Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre to “rid the country of landmines by the end of 2025.”

Some parts of the country are still littered with landmines from the 1970s war of liberation. The landmines are acting as a barrier to vital community assets such as water sources and grazing land. For over 40 years now, both human and livestock’s lives have not been spared by the landmines.

A representative from Halo, Greg Caffrey, expressed gratitude for the grant that he believes will go a long way in assisting the operations of the Trust.

“…our partnership has created a safe environment for children, farmers to cultivate the land. With the support of Japan, Halo will continue to eradicate the danger posed by landmines in Zimbabwe,” he said.
The other grant will see SOS Children’s Village Zimbabwe  receiving support to improve the educational environment at Maizeland Secondary School in Bindura.

SOS acting national director Addmore Makunura said they were delighted with “partnering the people of Japan for the first time and were grateful to be considered for the grant. It (the grant) comes as a timely intervention and we hope to execute (the project) and use the grant according to the guidelines.”

The final grant will see the Asian giant partner Shamwari Yemwanasikana (SYS), an NGO, construct a protection and empowerment centre for girls who have experienced abuse in the Seke District.

With the ever-increasing cases of sexual abuse in the country, the Ekenia Chifamba-led organisation says it is seized with trying to “create a safe haven for vulnerable girls who are day-in day-out subjected to abuse”.

“We recorded over 2 000 cases of abuse, mainly sexual, in the year 2018 alone. The power lies in the communities where we will house these girls,” she said while expressing gratitude for the “long-awaited” grant.

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