There has been an ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe over the past few decades. Unfortunately, there are no indications that there will be any improvements in the foreseeable future. The pandemic crisis has had global implications, but it has caused even greater strains here and impacted the poorest parts of Zimbabwe’s population hardest. Hand in Hand’s job-creation project (JCP) builds upon a unique model for social and economic development, social mobilisation, developing markets, entrepreneurship training, and access to microfinance.
The exceptional drought during 2019 caused the poorest harvest in decades. The country’s farmers produced about 40% less than the average production during the five preceding years. According to estimations by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the harvest barely covered 50% of domestic demand. In addition, inflation reached 175% in June 2019 and prices for basic foodstuffs rose by 78%, dramatically increasing food costs for the population. The situation is especially concerning as regards people living in the countryside, of which 80% are wholly dependent on their own produce. Many of whom are women. At the end of 2019, the UN published several reports on food security in Zimbabwe. During 2020, 6-8 million persons, out of a population of 13 million, are expected to suffer from hunger as a direct result of the poor harvest.
Hand in Hand’s engagement in Zimbabwe began in 2011, and the job-creation project (JCP) was introduced in 2014. At present, it supports 13,000 small-scale entrepreneurs. The project predominantly targets marginalised women and youths, as well as men living in vulnerable communities in the countryside in Zimbabwe. Through our approach to developing entrepreneurs, we strengthen individuals and improve livelihoods in local communities, while supporting sustainable development.
The overarching goal of the project is to make sustainable improvements to the livelihoods of small-scale entrepreneurs from particularly vulnerable groups living in the countryside. Youth and women are the programme’s primary target groups.
The project contributes towards SDG 1, No Poverty, as its objective is to promote decent livelihoods for particularly vulnerable people in a long-term, economically sustainable manner. The project also focuses on SDG 5, Gender Equality, as it primarily targets women (and youth).