By Itai Muzondo
Masvingo, September 10, 2015 – As hunger continued to strike hard on villagers in Masvingo’s largest district of Mwenezi, a ray of hope has since been brought to scores of more than 10 000 affected villagers in Makotore, after the World Food Programme (WFP) in conjunction with the Japanese Government launched the Productive Asset Creation (PAC) Programme to benefit the hunger stricken village.
The project which is facilitating the construction of Tsvimborume Dam and Nutritional Garden aims to create, protect and rehabilitate productive assets that improve food security, income security, livelihood opportunities and building resilience of vulnerable households.
In their delight, villagers told Radio VOP that the project is the biggest raindrop to wet their land, noting that it serves to conserve water which has remained the greatest need of their community.Most women applauded the project saying it has helped eradicate gender mainstreaming in work related environments.
“Vending has remained a key aspect of our community but has been scaling down because of unavailability of water sources to water our nutrition gardens from where we harvest the produce for sell. We rarely have water sources in this area as might be visible here in Makotore where we are served by only one borehole.
“We are therefore glad at WFP’s initiative to resuscitate Tsvimborume Dam so that we have a water source to water our gardens from which will also serve as a drinking source for our livestock. As if it was not enough, they also extended our nutritional garden to one hectare so that we are able to maximize productivity,” said a villager, Otilia Mukanganisi.
“Uncontrollable hunger has been the song since we were born. Besides regurgitating our hopes in our fight against hunger, WFP with their innovative initiative has actually made us see beyond human scope, they have awakened us to the fact that hunger can be eradicated.
“Villagers have also commended WFP for their assistance because on top of facilitating projects, they also provide us with a payment in the form of grain, oil and beans per household. This has really helped us survive this drought” added Benjamin Maurayi.
“The project has not only assisted in hunger alleviation but has struck out gender mainstreaming which had remained an irritating culture in our community. I say so because of the rise in women participation in work that has been for long has been male dominated in this project.
“The basic problem of late had been failure by men to accept that women have the same abilities as them when it comes to work but with such well executed projects, it became easy for them to accept their counterpart’s abilities in any line of work,” said the District’s Woman Affairs Coordinator, Sithabisiwe Nyoni.
The Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yoshi Tendai Hiraishi strengthened the villager’s hopes as he announced that his government injected USD1.5 million to facilitate similar projects in drought affected areas countrywide.
“The PAC Programme was originally devised and conducted by WFP and this year the Government of Japan, in supporting their initiative extended a grant of USD1.5 million to WFP.
“This programme seeks to strengthen the power of resistance of the local community to natural disasters such as drought by helping the community to build viable assets such as this dam in collaboration with WFP, NGO Partners, in this case Mwenezi Development Trust Centre,” said Hiraishi.
“We are yet to give more aid to the Southern parts of Zimbabwe as reports have shown that such areas are the most affected in the country. We will lobbu our government for help in times of trouble,” added Japanese Embassy to Zimbabwe Counselor, Yoshitake Tsuzuki.
WFP National Director, Eddie Rowe said he was happy to implement projects appreciated by the community.
“When people appreciate the work we do like this, I am happy because it shows that our research pertaining what people want in their area was apt and well executed. WFP is also happy because of the participation rate ranging from the villagers, coordinating team way up to our funding partners.
“I assure you that if we continue with this spirit, Mwenezi will have a new outlook within two years as hunger will be a thing of the past. As for our side, we will make sure that our footprints in Mwenezi and Masvingo as a province are recognized and successful,” said Rowe.
Meanwhile, the name ‘tsvimborume’ which the dam and nutritional garden adopted was derived from the area’s tale of a single man, who resided and later died at a nearby kopje in Mutasa Village. It was to the unique lifestyle this single man lived in the area that several other structures are named after him regardless of his status at an old age which is usually referred as taboo in the African tradition.