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From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 09 Dec 2002 13:31:59 -0800

November 25, 2002

AANA Bulletin is an ecumenical initiative to highlight all endeavours and 
experiences of Christians and the people of Africa.  AANA Bulletin is 
published weekly and, together with the French Edition - Bulletin APTA - is 
also available through e-mail.	For editorial and subscription details, 
please contact: 

AANA Bulletin	: Acting Editor - Mitch Odero		
Bulletin APTA: Edition en frangais, ridacteur intirimaire : Sylvie Alemba


Almost Every Family Requires Urgent Food Provisions

GUTU, Zimbabwe (AANA) November 25 - It is early in the morning and Jacob 
and Patricia Magarire with their ten-month-old baby, still have eight 
kilometres to go. They are heading for the business centre in Basera to 
register their names for food distribution.

Hundreds of people have gathered in Basera, a village southern Zimbabwe's 
Gutu province. Here a local aid organisation, Christian Care (CC), is in 
the process of registering villagers for food distribution. (CC is a member 
of Action By Churches Together ACT- a global alliance of churches and 
related agencies working in the field of humanitarian relief)

The distribution is targeted at 40,000 beneficiaries for general feeding 
and 13,500 for children under five year old for supplementary feeding. 
People are registered and vetted according to their needs and "the level of 
poverty is the main criteria we use," says Courage Chirobe, a CC programme 
officer. "Also female or child-headed-households are considered first".

The vetting process is explained to the villagers by Mugove Chakurira, 
another CC programme officer, first to the village leaders and then to all 
the people who have come. He emphasises that Christian Care is neutral when 
it comes to food distribution and that regardless of political affiliation, 
gender or beliefs, anyone who qualifies according to the needs assessment 
is entitled to food.

For Jacob Magarire and the hundreds of other villagers, their hope of food 
now lies with Christian Care. The drought that has gripped this part of the 
country for months has seen to it that jobs are no longer easy to come by.

"Nobody needs my services at the moment," says the 29-year blacksmith. They 
harvested nothing during last year's harvest and all the maize, groundnuts 
and sorghum that he and his wife had planted on their piece of land was 
lost, he explains.

Anna Zindonga, who is also standing in the registration queue, did some dry 
planting a day before. "I am just trying anything," says Anna, who has four 
children. Her husband works in Bulawayo. During the good rainy seasons, she 
usually harvested two bags of maize, which saw her through to the next 
season. Now she has to beg food from her neighbours.

Another couple Sokai and Janet Shoko say they have no more food left to 
eat. Until recently they could buy from the shops, "if there was anything," 
says Sokai. But now they have run out of money and they had nothing to eat 
for the last two days.

A group of women who have come back from registering for food relief in a 
nearby village expressed their relief by chanting and singing as they 
walked home. They showed us the wild fruits that they now survive on, 
(which they grind into porridge.)

"People are very happy that Christian Care is distributing food," says 
Rev  R.D Mavinga from Basera, who is also assisting in the registration 
process which was finalised at the end of October.

Food distribution started early November. Programme officer Courage Chisobe 
hopes that they will receive more funding. "This would allow us to extend 
the number of people, who will benefit from food relief," says Chisobe.

However, Joseph Goko, Christian Care area manager for Masvingo South, says 
that it has now become difficult to define the needy ones. "Almost every 
family here is in need of food," says Goko adding that even if they have 
the money, there is often no place where to buy the food. "The only 
solution is food aid"

He emphasises that the food crisis in Zimbabwe will deteriorate rapidly 
without rain and then says, although the crisis is not as visible as in 
other countries like Ethiopia for instance, it will be too late for many 
people when the world finally realises the extent of the emergency.

Reported by Rainer Lang

School Children Benefit From Feeding Programmes

BEIT BRIDGE, Zimbabwe (AANA) November 25 - More than 300 school children, 
each with a plate in hand, are lining up for porridge in front of the 
school building. It is lunch break at Matshiloni Primary School in Beit 
Bridge in southern Zimbabwe.

The porridge, which is prepared over a fire in a large pot, is a mixture of 
maize meal and soya beans, rich in minerals and vitamins, explains Dambudzo 
Kumbirai Nolorao, the teacher in charge of the Supplementary Feeding 

The programme is run by Lutheran Development Service (LDS) - a member of 
the global alliance Action by Churches Together ACT International. "The 
brain of a child needs good food," adds the director of the school, Marunwa 

The programme, which LDS has been running since last October, was started 
to counteract the severe drought in Zimbabwe that left families in the 
rural areas without enough food to feed their children.

However, for most of the pupils, the supplementary food, is the only meal 
that they get to eat per day. The food crisis has not only affected poor 
families in the rural areas, but also teachers and other workers based in 
rural districts.

Although they can afford to buy food, many of the shops are empty, explains 
Siphuma. The shortage of basic commodities such as maize meal, the staple 
food in Zimbabwe, has increased the urgent need for food aid in the country.

Siphuma tells how his deputy received a phone call that morning that his 
children who live in the city of Bulawayo have run out of food in the house 
and he had to go around looking for food to buy.

"We too will die if no rain falls," says Siphuma. "Have you seen the bones 
along the road?" he asks. "The cattle are dying because even they do not 
have enough food. Some cows are lying along the road, too weak to get up".

An irrigation project in the district "Rovhana Roita", which is part of the 
Integral Rural Development project run by LDS, has also been affected by 
the drought. The project, which started in the year 2000, has 40 people 
working on it - 34 women and six men.

James Mukwame a former farm labourer is happy about the project. Boreholes 
were drilled for the irrigation, which provides water for a big vegetable 
garden and the project's cattle.

By selling their vegetables and cattle, the project turns a small profit - 
had there not been a drought, the programme, which in the past had won 
regional and national agricultural prizes, would be self-supporting, says 

There is however a big need for emergency preparedness. Loud Nyoni, an 
administrative officer with the rural district office of Beit Bridge and 
the person in charge of co-ordinating the work of the NGOs in the area, has 
challenged the ones operating in the district to build more dams.

He also urges the NGOs to upgrade the irrigation systems which are now old 
and outdated. This way, he believes, when the next drought strikes, the 
people of the district will be able to cope.

Reported by Rainer Lang

Widespread Drought, Poverty Hinders School Enrolment

GUTU, Zimbabwe (AANA) November 25 - The three young boys are resting in the 
shade of a small tree after a long and hard day's work as farm labourers on 
Muungani farm in Gutu Province, southern Zimbabwe.

Late as it is in the day, the sun still burns down, sapping the earth of 
its moisture and baking the soil into a hard, barren crust*.

One of the youngsters, 10-year old Shebad Mazhangara, who has been working 
on the farm for about a year now, explains that they do not go to school 
because their parents cannot afford the school fees. Shebad says he works 
to help his parents and seven siblings survive.

Shebad and his two friends, Timothy Shajactimwe (17) and Tatenda Matare 
(13) each earn about Zim $1,000 a month. "That is nothing," says Leston 
Zhou from the Lutheran Development Service (LDS), a member of Action by 
Churches Together (ACT) International.

He adds, "that is not more than one US dollar".  But Shebad and his friends 
are adamant that they are grateful to be employed. The three youngsters 
live in Gutu Province in the southern part of Zimbabwe, an area hit hardest 
by the recent drought that has devastated the whole of southern Africa.

The majority of people in the province are subsistence farmers, cultivating 
small plots of land. LDS and Christian Care (CC), also a member of ACT 
International, are both helping people whose lives have been devastated by 
the drought and factors such as the political instability in the country 
and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The three boys work alongside several adults on the farm, preparing the 
fields for the coming season. "Last year's drought affected this year's 
harvest," explains Farai Wadzanai, one of the older farm workers.

"We hope for rain," he says, looking up at the sky, adding that he no 
longer has enough food to feed his family. Yet Farai insists on sending at 
least two of his four children to school, finding the Z$24 per child in 
school fees.

This is far too much on his salary as Farai only earns Zim $2000 a month - 
an amount that does not stretch very far when a 20kg bag of ground maize 
costs Zim $1800

To supplement his income, Farai resorts to borrowing from his employer or 
asks his neighbours for help. The longer the drought lasts, the more he is 
caught up in a cycle of poverty. The chief of Chingombe Village, Garal 
Gonese, who works as a teacher, is worried about the impact of the drought 
on the educational system.

Food prices have shot up so dramatically over the last few months, that 
parents are faced with a stark choice -to feed their children if they still 
can, or send them to school, he explains.  "A year ago a loaf of bread cost 
Zim $45," says Gonese. "Now, it has gone up to Zim $140".

At Batanayi School, where Gonese teaches, 170 students of the original 540 
have left school to find work. "They work for a meagre salary of between 
100 to 300 Zimbabwean dollars a week on the fields or they go to the forest 
to gather wild fruits to sell," says Gonese. "It is terrible".

One sees children everywhere trying to make ends meet. Along the main 
roads, they cluster together selling laundry detergents. They consider 
themselves lucky - in the mornings they attend school and then join their 
parents at the selling points in the afternoon.

However, for Shebad and his friends', the future is a bleaker one. The loss 
of education they are suffering now will inevitably have a severe impact on 
their lives. Without an education their prospects will simply dwindle to a 
few limited options later in life.

Reported by Rainer Lang - (*The farm where the three boys are eking out a 
living had not seen rain in months when the writer,Rainer Lang, visited the 

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