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Cross support restores the dignity of People Living with HIV and
AIDS in Zimbabwe
Dongozi, Zimbabwe Red Cross Society
As the impact
of HIV and AIDS continues to be felt among vulnerable communicates
in Zimbabwe, the vulnerable groups themselves have taken the lead
to improve their health and social status.
of HIV and AIDS on people’s livelihoods prompted the Zimbabwe Red
Cross Society to add food security and livelihoods as an essential
component of a comprehensive response to HIV and AIDS. The programme
is currently supporting a total of 96 000 people living with HIV
and AIDS and 52 000 orphans in 27 districts of the 57 districts
For Eunice Mpambi,
one of the Red Cross beneficiaries, the programme has not only given
her the much needed high nutritional variety, but has also helped
her to regain her dignity in the community.
that I get from the nutrition garden is very important, and I am
also a dignified member of the community again," said Eunice
Mpambi, a women living with HIV and AIDS under the Red Cross’s home
based care project in Chivi, Masvingo Province one of the worst
drought affected areas in the country.
"I am now
able to buy household items and some school requirements for her
five children from the profit which she makes from the sale of the
garden produce," added Eunice.
Within the programme,
the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, in partnership with the International
Development Enterprises (IDE) distributed 1200 micro-irrigation
kits to clients and orphans, with IDE providing with technical support
on micro irrigation and farming systems. The Red Cross, under this
partnership has provided the project seeds and fertilizer, with
the financial support of the British Red Cross society.
look at HIV and AIDS, the first requirement is food and all other
treatments can only work where food and nutrition is available",
says Edmore Shamu, the National President of the Zimbabwe Red Cross
He added that
food security is particularly critical for the vulnerable groups,
as it had over the years become unavailable due to persistent droughts
and other socio economic factors.
the orphans and clients with agricultural inputs, the Red Cross
recognizes that the existence of the extended family, quite common
in Africa culture where relatives of the client would come and help
the client’s family work in the fields or back yard garden.
The Red Cross
society launched the programme as far as 2003 after realizing that,
apart from responding to the immediate food requirements of the
people living with HIV and AIDS and orphans, there was also an urgent
need to address the long term food security requirements for these
to introduce this initiative after we realized that there was need
to balance monthly food distributions and food production by the
beneficiaries to minimize dependency," said Mr. Calvine Matsinde,
the Zimbabwe Red Cross Food Security and Livelihoods Officer. He
also added that they have been varying food ration quantities distributed
around the harvesting time and provide agricultural inputs to ensure
sustainable food production by the beneficiaries.
country is faced with critical food insecurity due to drought, but
the integration of HIV and AIDS programme with a water and sanitation
programme, will help improve the quality of life for the people
living with HIV and AIDS and other vulnerable groups in the community.
living with HIV and AIDS are no different from anyone else and by
enhancing their quality of life, we are also promoting the dignity
of our humanity", says Shamhu.
Visit the Zimbabwe
Red Cross Society fact
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