SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THE World Food Programme (WFP) says it has drilled boreholes at 55 schools countrywide in support of the government’s School Feeding Project.
WFP boreholes, which are solar-powered, are ensuring access to clean and safe water to learners in the schools selected under the programme.
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, WFP Zimbabwe spokesperson, Claire Nevill said the humanitarian organisation was advocating for additional resources to expand the school feeding programme to other districts.
“Our completed boreholes to date are 22 in Zvishavane, 10 in Binga, seven in Mbire, five in Mudzi and 11 in Mt Darwin.
“Drilling is ongoing and in the last two months had slowed down due to the persistent wet weather,” Nevill said.
She said the target was to drill 68 boreholes in schools. WFP is supporting efforts to reduce stunting rates of children in prioritised districts by 2025, in line with national and global targets.
On Tuesday, the government announced that the school calendar for 2021 will start on a slightly phased approach, with the examination classes opening on March 15 and the rest on March 22.
The government directed that there be rotational school attendance in classes where learners cannot exercise social distancing.
“On the days when learners are not at school, they will be engaged through strategies such as Open Distance Learning and e-learning.
“Relevant modules are already under production. Among the catch-up strategies, all continuing classes will start with 2020 work. Syllabi have been compressed to facilitate accelerated coverage. Both primary and secondary school levels will follow three levels of accelerated compressed syllabus coverage,” said Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
Apart from the Schools Feeding Programme, WFP is already delivering help to the most vulnerable, food insecure urban locals with activities which build their resilience to cope with various shocks and stressors, which can devastate their food security.
The government currently estimates that about half of all urban dwellers or roughly 2,2 million people are food insecure.
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated Zimbabwe’s economic instability and has had a particularly devastating effect on urban residents, many of whom were already living hand to mouth, working multiple jobs in the informal sector.
The loss in livelihoods coupled with food price inflation and higher cost of living has meant that food insecurity and vulnerability of the urban poor has worsened.
WFP already delivers monthly cash transfers to 326 000 Zimbabweans and plans to scale up its urban assistance programme to reach at least 550 000 people living in the 28 worst affected and food insecure urban areas in the country.
This emergency assistance provided through WFP targets the most vulnerable and food insecure households in urban areas, especially focusing on women-led households, people with disabilities, and people living with HIV, in order to ensure that they are able to meet their basic food and nutrition needs.