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HEFO work to restore dignity and quality of life for people living in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe – in particular, rural regions of Nkayi District. HEFO was formed by churches in Nkayi and nearby Bulawayo – who were well versed in the challenges faced by local communities.
Health Education and Food Security Organisation.
HEFO’s focus is on helping vulnerable communities become more self-reliant – through projects supporting climate-resilient sustainable agriculture, livestock production, and increasing access to clean and safe water. The region in which they work is very dry – so HEFO supports borehole, agricultural, and community gardening projects to help communities cope with these challenges.
All We Can has partnered with HEFO since 2018. To find out more about how All We Can work in partnership with local organisations like HEFO, click here.
Climate change is making life increasingly difficult for families living in rural Nkayi. The region often experiences extended dry spells, and is prone to persistent drought as well as other extreme weather events such as floods and high temperatures. As a result, access to water is an issue in Nkayi, with women and young people often traveling long distances (up to 5 km) to fetch water. The infrequent quantities of rain which do fall in the region is insufficient for growing most crop varieties, meaning families can struggle to grow enough food to eat.
Climate change also affects livestock in the region – animals may go for days without drinking water, or need to travel long distances to access a watering point. Access to safe and clean drinking water for both humans and livestock is an urgent priority in the region.
With unreliable harvests and the impact of a changing climate, the families that HEFO serve in rural Nkayi face challenges making ends meet. As it becomes more and more difficult to grow crops, families must increasingly rely on livestock production or alternative livelihoods to secure a sustainable income. According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assesment Committee (ZIMVAC), more than 76% of households in Nkayi live below the poverty line.
For families with children, access to education can be a particular difficulty, as school fees can be prohibitively expensive for those living in poverty.
Lack of clean and safe water, coupled with airborne and waterborne diseases continue to pose major problems for the communities in Nkayi. Covid-19 has also further complicated the situation, as farmers have been unable to travel to markets to sell produce, and development projects have faced interruptions.
Zimbabwe has faced a series of tough measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 since March 2020 – including a strict 30 days lockdown in January 2021. At the time of writing 38,466 cases have been recorded and 1,579 deaths. However, there is some fear that both deaths and cases are often under-reported.
As is the case across the globe, the impact of Covid-19 goes far beyond mere statisitics, and has had a profound effect on livelihoods and local economies in Zimbabwe. For many, streams of income have dried up, as people have been unable to access markets during periods of lockdown.
Thankfully, vaccination began in Zimbabwe in February, and at the time of writing more than 414,000 people have been inoculated. However, widespread fear and misinformation, as well as complications with logistics, have hampered take-up.
HEFO care deeply about the local communities they serve, and work together with them to develop the best possible solutions to the challenges they are facing. In particular, HEFO work to increase food, nutrition and income security by supporting families to take on a mixture of both crop and livestock farming. Farmers are trained in climate-just practices. This provides them with the seeds, resources and training they need to develop a sustainable income through farming, and provide nutritious food for their families – and at the same time, enables them to make their communities greener.
Access to water is a real challenge in rural Nkayi – and so HEFO help communities to tackle this through initiatives such as borehole drilling and solarisation, weir construction, roof harvesting, and better management of water points.
Across their work, HEFO help community members to learn from each other, and share best practise by forming community producer groups. HEFO work with these groups to share technical knowledge on crop and livestock farming, and equip them to work well together as a group – reaping better results for everyone! In addition, across all of HEFO’s work, there is a focus on sustainably using and preserving the resources available, in harmony with the natural environment.
HEFO continue to assist people produce crops in the face of climate change and minimal rainfall. Growing of small grains such as millet, sorghum and cow peas is critical in HEFO’s efforts in this area. Larger seeds such as maize are also grown in some parts of Nkayi. Perennial seeds like storm soya are also useful, as well as vegetable garden seeds and herbs. About 4050 kg of seed is required for each of the 5 wards in which HEFO work in Nkayi.
This year, All We Can and HEFO are hoping to reach a total of 4,558 people through work in Nkayi. How incredible is that? You support helps make this critical work possible.
Firstly, whilst that seems like a lovely idea, the cost of shipping and the logistics are likely to be prohibitive, even for a bulk order of farming materials or seeds. However, secondly – and most importantly – shipping resources like this undermines the local partner, their methods of sourcing materials and local businesses and jobs involved. If you have resources you no longer need and wish to donate, why not sell it to someone who needs it here in the UK, and donate the money raised to help more people break the cycle of poverty!
Have any more questions?
We’re happy to help. You can contact one of All We Can’s friendly Supporter Care team about The Next Steps by calling +44 (0)20 7467 5132 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.