In Zimbabwe SERVE works with three partners – Young Africa Zimbabwe, Caritas Harare and Mavambo Trust.
Although Zimbabwe is currently experiencing political calm and the beginnings of socio-economic stability, the humanitarian situation remains serious. The negative effects of the socio-economic collapse of more than ten years are still being felt by the majority of households. The UN 2010 Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for Zimbabwe identified that an estimated 6 million vulnerable people will continue to feel the impact of the long-term lack of support to basic services and livelihoods in the coming year.
The devastating impact of HIV and AIDS have also crippled the economy, where the majority of families in Zimbabwe are affected by the disease (in 2010, the prevalence was at 15.3% with the highest infection rates amongst women aged 20-39). An estimated 1.6m people are living with HIV/AIDS. The epidemic is feminized with young women (15-24 yrs) three times more likely to be infected with HIV compared to young men of the same age.
Only 5% of people in Zimbabwe are formally employed and there is a real need for skilled labour in the country. Agriculture is of fundamental importance to Zimbabwe and contributes significantly to food security and the overall gross Domestic Product (GDP). The full value and potential of agriculture remains largely unrealised, leading to food insecurity and loss of income. The microeconomic shocks of recent years have resulted in the continual loss of livelihoods. The continuous selling of livestock as coping mechanisms has reduced draught power and reduced agricultural production. Overall, there are high levels of vulnerability and livelihood insecurity for rural and urban families.
Young Africa Zimbabwe began its work in 1998 by establishing the Young Africa Skills Centre in Chitungwiza, Harare. Chitungwiza is a township located approximately 25km outside Harare and has 1 million inhabitants. The people in this township are very underprivileged and there are few opportunities for education or employment. Most of the young people in Chitungwiza are unable to travel to Harare on a daily basis due to the ongoing fuel crisis, high bus fares and unreliable public transport. These social conditions mean that young people engage in risky behaviour and HIV/AIDS is a major part of life in Chitungwiza.
Today it is providing education, practical skills training and life skills training to over 400 young people daily, and over 1000 young people daily access some service at Young Africa Zimbabwe. The impact of all programmes is monitored closely: 80% of the beneficiaries feel better off after training; 70% of the young people make more responsible decisions in regard to HIV/AIDS. Gender sensitivity and HIV/AIDS awareness are mainstreamed in action. Governmental and non-governmental authorities come to learn from us and have implemented the methodology of Young Africa into their own works.
At Epworth, Young Africa provides courses varying from dressmaking, building and carpentry to computer applications, secretarial services and O-Level tuition. A youth club offers young people somewhere to play basketball, games and watch movies. Life skills training and HIV/AIDS awareness training is mainstreamed into these youth activities. Young Africa has a formal agreement with the Ministry of Youth Development to rent a building for a minimum of 15 years (2005-2220). Young Africa has plans to expand the Epworth project site. SERVE have partnered with Young Africa Zimbabwe since 2008.
As part of SERVE’s agency relationship with the Irish Redemptorists SERVE work with Caritas Harare and the Mavambo Trust.
Caritas Harare focuses on relief, development and social services within the Harare area. Caritas Harare provided emergency food relief during the economic crisis and now has a focus on food & livelihood security, HIV/AIDS and TVET training for young people.
Mavambo Trust is an organisation committed to responding to the HIV/AIDS pandemic affecting Zimbabwe. The Mavambo Trust was established in 2001 to assist children to access education in the communities of Mabvuku, Tafara and Goromonzi. However, in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Mavambo expanded its work to give holistic support to OVC in the areas of education, health care, food and social support. Over 9,000 children have benefitted from this education support since 2009. Mavambo Trust promotes local ownership by working with organisations and community volunteers who engage in extensive home visits and monitoring and evaluation. SERVE are providing funding support to allow Mavambo Trust continue its valuable work for children in Zimbabwe – over 1600 children are benefitting directly from SERVE support.