Story From Caritas Masvingo
Caritas Zimbabwe through the Dioceses of Masvingo implemented a Lean Season Assistance Programme which was funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) in 13 wards of Chivi District under Chief Madyangove. The project commenced in October 2017 and ended in March 2018 targeting 12777 beneficiaries from October to December 2017 and 22833 beneficiaries from January to March 2018 and 2664 under-fives.
The Lean Season Assistance programme was implemented after the outcomes from the 2017 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report (ZIMVAC) which estimated that 102 048 people in Masvingo Province would be food insecure as from October 2017 to December 2017. The number of food insecure households in Masvingo was to increase to 176956 during the January to March 2018 Lean Season period meaning that 18% of its population was going to be in dire need of food assistance.
The programme targeted the most vulnerable households who were selected through the community participatory approach using the identified indicators of vulnerability from their communities. The qualified beneficiaries (people assisted) received $10 per person which would be multiplied by the family size. A ration of 6kg of Super Cereal (CSB++) was to be given to the under-fives from the selected households. The cash was meant for beneficiaries to purchase food commodities from the identified and contracted retailers in the selected wards. In October, LSA beneficiaries received cash through CIT whilst from November to March, the beneficiaries were using their SCOPE cards to swipe out their food from selected retailers using the E-voucher system.
During and after the implementation of the LSA programme, some of the LSA beneficiaries confirmed that the programme came in hand as it alleviated the food shortages and malnourishment of children in the targeted communities. Mrs. Mavuto testified how her three grandchildren’s health significantly improved due to the CSB++ intake and said, “I just don’t know how Isheunesu recovered. I just cannot explain it. Ever since the kids started receiving super cereal, their health has greatly improved.” The names of the three grandsons are Sydney, Gibson and Isheunesu.
Akudzwe Malaluka (2years) is another beneficiary assisted in the CSB distribution whose testimony was also amazing. When she was born, people thought she was physically challenged and at two years, she could not even crawl or walk. During the commencement of the LSA programme, Akudzwe was doing some exercises at a local clinic but no great change was being noticed. After some months of receiving CSB, drastic changes were noted and by now, Akudzwe can stand and lean by the wall and can crawl easily. The mother testified; “We all thought Akudzwe was physically challenged,” as she appraised and thanked WFP, Caritas and the Government of Zimbabwe for such a programme.
In a nation where the Zimbabwe Nutrition Council and other Donors are preaching the doctrine of implementing programmes which are nutrition sensitive, beneficiaries are pleading for such programmes to continue as they have seen a reduction in malnutrition in communities after the distribution of cash and Super Cereal in Chivi. Thanks to all the involved stakeholders in Chivi, WFP and the donors for such a complementary programme. As the arm of the Catholic Church, Caritas believes in the continuation of sharing this love as we work for the people.
Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that “….children are a gift of God to humanity, and they must be subject of particular concern on the part of their families, the church, society and governments for they are a source of hope and renewed hope…” The church is grateful for the programme as it supports children.