Uplift programme to alleviate impact of COVID-19 in Mbare

By Nokuthaba Dlamini 

Welfare organisation, GOAL Zimbabwe, in collaboration with Childline and Musasa, have rolled out a project to help over 15,000 needy women and children in Mbare township in Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare cope with the impact of Covid-19.

After receiving US$ 3.3 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the three organisations launched Uplift/Simudza – 12-month project – that combines cash assistance and support to children and women impacted by protection related issues in Mbare, according to Gabriella Prandin, GOAL’s country director said. 

“We are coming in with an integrated package of assistance to address household and business needs,” she said of the project.

The programme involves increasing food security for the beneficiaries while supporting the recovery of income-generating activities for families whose livelihoods have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.  

Prandini highlighted that the comprehensive project would also offer protection services at household and  community levels.

tackling gender based violence

Besides cash and food, Precious Taru, director for Musasa Project, said Uplift/Simudza project would also focus on social behavior change in Mbare to help reduce cases of gender based violence (GBV) in the township. 

“The project will address social norms that perpetuate violence. Our priority will be to provide a comprehensive response package for survivors of violence and utilise the GBV referral network.”

Childline’s national director ,Stella Motsi, welcomed the project’ as timely.

“We will provide services through our 116 free phone hotline, offer psycho-social support to victims of abuse and support parenting initiatives that promote better living amongst families. 

“The project comes at a time when children’s vulnerabilities have increased and thus the need to create safety nets to protect children. ” she said.

  protecting women and children

USAID Zimbabwe acting mission director, Mike McCord, said the physical and psychological safety of women, girls, and children is of utmost importance.

” USAID is pleased to support this response to the rising food insecurity and increasing cases of violence in Mbare,” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already declining economic environment, causing many to struggle to meet their basic needs. This assistance will help families make choices regarding what they want to eat, help them start viable income-generating projects, and enable them to create an environment that is safe for children and survivors of violence,” 

“The United States remains committed to the people of Zimbabwe. During the pandemic, we will continue to prioritise our critical health and life-saving humanitarian assistance activities, such as cash, food, water, emergency healthcare, sanitation and hygiene, and critical nutrition services for Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable people. ” said McCord.

multi-stakeholder roles

GOAL Zimbabwe, Childline, and Musasa will work with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Mbare local council officials in identifying vulnerable households unable to meet their basic needs.

The project sponsors said Uplift/Simudza was designed to provide active referrals and case management for households and integration of messaging on child protection and GBV to the wider community.  

The project would also develop a strong feedback and accountability channels to ensure that it is effective and responsive to the needs of the targeted beneficiaries. 

GOAL said risk communication on COVID-19 would be mainstreamed in all activities and will be expanded to include vaccination information when appropriate.

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