By Staff Reporter
World Vision Zimbabwe, a Christian, child-focused humanitarian aid agency, has launched a new program to reduce malnutrition and improve child protection in Mudzi district, Mashonaland East province.
The program, named Protection and Nutrition Emergency Response for Mudzi (PRONE for Mudzi), is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and will run for 15 months.
PRONE for Mudzi aims to improve the access to and availability of nutritious foods for those more susceptible to malnutrition, such as pregnant and lactating women, children under five, and people living with HIV.
The program will also educate communities on the importance of adopting improved nutrition practices and enhance the community-based management of acute malnutrition through training, coaching, and monitoring village health workers.
The program will also work to strengthen the capacity of clinics to screen and treat malnutrition cases.
In addition, PRONE for Mudzi will partner with the Musasa Project, a local organization that provides services to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and advocates for gender equity.
The Musasa Project will offer relief to GBV survivors and establish one-stop centres where they can access medical, legal, and psychosocial support.
The Musasa Project will also implement communication strategies, GBV awareness campaigns, and community dialogues to improve attitudes toward gender equity and GBV prevention.
World Vision Zimbabwe National Director Assan Golowa said, “World Vision Zimbabwe is grateful for USAID’s financial and technical support so that we can implement the PRONE for Mudzi program.
This program comes in at a critical time when nutrition, gender, and protection needs in Mudzi are apparent. The support will go a long way in strengthening maternal infant and young child nutrition, as well as gender-based violence prevention and response.”
Mudzi district is one of the areas in Zimbabwe that has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated food insecurity, poverty, and vulnerability.
According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, about 5.5 million people in rural areas and 2.2 million people in urban areas are projected to be food insecure during the peak of the 2023/24 lean season.
Moreover, the pandemic has increased the risk of GBV, especially for women and girls, who face increased domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and child marriage.
To address these challenges, World Vision Zimbabwe will provide cash-based vouchers to the most vulnerable households to enable them to access food in a dignified and effective way, especially during the lean season.
The vouchers will also stimulate the local economy and support small-scale farmers and traders.
PRONE for Mudzi will target 18 wards in Mudzi district, reaching an estimated 75,000 people, including 15,000 children.
The program is part of World Vision Zimbabwe’s broader efforts to support the well-being of children and communities in Zimbabwe, where it has been operating since 1973.