Zimbabwe charities

Learn about charity in Zimbabwe

This website is about charity in Zimbabwe, especially regarding building homes.

Rural poverty in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s data for health and education were once among the best in the continent. But the political and financial crisis has brought poverty and societal decline in its wake. The 2003 Poverty Assessment Study Survey II showed a considerable rise in poverty. Between 1990 and 2003 the poverty rate went up from 25 per cent to 63 per cent.

As in many countries, rural households have a higher poverty rate than city-based households. Most farm incomes and production are insufficient and food shortages are going up. Households are increasingly dependent on remittances and emergency aid.

National infrastructure

National infrastructure has gone downhill. Around 40 per cent of the road network is in poor condition. Sanitation coverage is very poor, and railway freight traffic has gone down by more than half since 1990, effectively cutting off rural communities from markets.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe has fortunately gone down, but the rate of 18.1 per cent stays one of the most in the world. The sharp descent in the country’s population growth since the 1980s largely reflects the impact of the epidemic.

Causes of poverty in Zimbabwe

Traditionally Zimbabwe’s farming sector was dualistic. On the one hand there was the commercial sub-sector made up of large-scale farms offering cash crops like tobacco and grain while on the other hand are the small-scale people growing food crops, especially maize. This food fed the country and there was even extra for export to other nations in the region.

Land reforms

The government’s land reforms dismantled the current system of land distribution and considerably harmed the commercial farming sector, which was a key source of exports and foreign exchange. It provided jobs for about 400,000 people in the countryside. The old system was designed for large-scale production and the switch to smallholder production has been lengthy and painful.

The economic crisis of recent decades has stopped substantial capital investment, and new enterprises have not quickly emerged. Agricultural production has largely suffered as a result of weak services, lack of credit, and considerable shortages of key inputs such as seeds, fertilizer and fuel. In dry areas water scarcity is a huge challenge for farmers. Productivity can be made better only through investment in agriculture water management, especially small-scale irrigation and water harvesting. Many smallholders are only just able to continue farming, and only a few in some areas have been able to set up viable enterprises.

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