he country of Zimbabwe has experienced severe economic difficulties in the last decade, brought about mainly by the Government’s ‘Land Reform’ policy resulting in this country that was once the bread basket of Africa no longer growing enough food to feed the population. The economic difficulties have resulted in a very high unemployment rate leaving the majority of the population dependant on growing their own food. These conditions, combined with frequent drought conditions in some of the rural areas of the country, have meant that many families survive on just one meal a day and children are growing up suffering from malnutrition.
As a Trust we have sought to address this problem by giving support to famine relief programmes that target orphan children and widows, who are the most vulnerable in that society. We have regularly sent funds to our church contacts in Bulawayo and Mt Darwin who run famine relief programmes to provide nourishing meals for these vulnerable people.
In addition we have worked in partnership with Pastor Albert Chatindo who oversees a network of around 200 rural churches in an area that regularly suffers from drought conditions. We have supplied funds for food distribution among these communities and, in addition, have given support to a famine relief programme that seeks to address the issues of malnutrition among children under 6, nursing mothers and the elderly. These folk are fed with e’Pap which is a food enriched with minerals and vitamins to counter the effect of malnutrition and there is evidence of some positive results from this programme.
Drought and Famine conditions in 2016/17
The whole of Zimbabwe suffered from drought conditions in the early months of 2016 resulting in a failed harvest and famine conditions affecting the entire country, the impact of which was felt most in the rural communities. In February 2016 we launched an appeal for funds to provide food for churches and their communities in the most badly affected areas of the country. As a result of this appeal we were able to send £40,000 to purchase basic food supplies for distribution through our contacts in the north of the country around Mt Darwin and in rural areas in the south of the country around Bulawayo. This famine relief programme would continue through to April 2017 when, in the goodness of the Lord, we trusted a harvest would be reaped.
In anticipation of the new growing season, towards the end of 2016, we were able to distribute £8000 for the purchase of seed and fertilisers for planting maize, which is the staple diet in Zimbabwe. Our contacts on the ground have also been training these rural communities in the principles of Farming God’s Way (Foundations of Farming) which uses the earth’s natural resources to get the best yields from the crops.
The following is a testimony to the experience of an elderly lady in one of these rural communities: “Mrs Ndlovu had not been planning to go to the fields this season to plant maize since she had no money to buy seeds. She was so overjoyed when she was told by her headman that there was some seeds coming over to their village and she was one of the chosen beneficiaries. The seeds for sure brought life, hope and joy to such people who didn’t know what to do. She believes that it was really an answer to prayer as she had been praying and asking God to give her money to buy maize seeds for her field.”