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Map of Zimbabwe

Where We Work : Zimbabwe

Country Profile

Population 13,182,908
Human Development Rank 172/187
GNI per Capita US$424
People living on less than 1euro a day 68%
Infant Mortality (per 1,000 births) 43/1000
Life Expectancy 51
Literacy Rate 90.7%
Global Hunger Ranking 46 (16.5) Serious
HIV/AIDS Prevalence 14.9%

Zimbabwe is a natural paradise. It is home to the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls, an impressive cascade of water plunging nearly one mile into the Zambezi River. The falls have a swirling mist and deafening roar that have earned them the name, “The Smoke That Thunders,” among the local population. Zimbabwe however faces many challenges.

Needs and Challenges

  • 68% of the population are living in poverty.
  • There are 1.3 million orphans in Zimbabwe; 1 million of these have been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
  • 1.2 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

Zimbabwe has the 5th highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world as well as the highest number of orphans in the world, the majority of them due to HIV/AIDS. Despite some minor improvements in the economy following the official introduction of the US$ as the national currency, poverty and unemployment are still endemic. As a result of controversial governmental policies the Department of Social Services in Zimbabwe has experienced near bankruptcy and has all but abandoned its role in protecting vulnerable children. The political context and its economic implications have also affected the ability of extended families in caring for OVCs. The local church which has historically been a place of refuge in Zimbabwe for the poor and vulnerable has been overwhelmed by the huge need of communities and it has been therefore been limited in what it can do.

However there is hope, Tearfund and its partners have been working in communities to help support children orphaned by AIDS to build sustainable livelihoods and improve their quality of life.


Zoe - Supporting Children Orphaned by AIDS

Zoe - Supporting Children Orphaned by AIDS

Project Date: 2010-2013

Local Partner: Zimbabwe Orphans through Extended Hands (ZOE)

Project: Tearfund’s partner is a catalyst in envisioning and mobilising local churches to help HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children (OVC)s all over Zimbabwe to build sustainable livelihoods and improve their quality of life. Providing training and support to church leaders and volunteers, issues associated with HIV/AIDS are addressed. Volunteers are trained in animal husbandry, veterinary skills, agriculture, advocacy and management, while child headed households are provided with goats and chickens to generate an income for them and are involved in nutritional garden projects so they can grow vegetables to eat and sell.

Key Achievements:

  • Envisioned local churches to provide holistic care and advocate on behalf of orphans and vulnerable children in their communities.
  • Awareness materials concerning children and children’s rights in the constitution were updated and distributed to church leaders.
  • Support visits are carried out regularly to envisioned churches and their volunteers in order to provide continued support and aid sustainability.
  • Livestock husbandry workshops were conducted, church volunteers were trained in veterinary management, setting up livestock breeding stations and goat house construction.
  • Chicken breeding centres have been set up and the money made from the procurement of goats in one area has been used by the church to pay school fees for five orphaned beneficiaries.
  • A ‘Training of Trainer’ (TOT) course in basic business management has been developed and conducted and will aid the sustainability of the projects.
  • Training in psychosocial support was conducted with churches and partnerships with NGOs were built in the form of a Child Advocacy Coalition that lobbies for the inclusion of children’s rights in the constitution.
  • Local churches helped to prepare the fields for the upcoming agricultural season for elderly widows and orphans, therefore allowing the children time to attend school instead of tending to agricultural duties.

The Numbers:

  • To date 213 leaders from 169 churches in 10 different areas have been envisioned.
  • Since 2010, 677 volunteers from 252 churches were trained.
  • 8 areas in total have been trained in basic livestock husbandry.
  • In Ntepe, one particular area of Zimbabwe the church has nearly 100 goats which it uses to generate income, which it then uses to benefit OVCs and their families.
  • 33 churches were trained on keeping nutrition gardens and seeds were bought by households with help from the church.
  • 8 children’s clubs have been set up in 9 areas within 3 provinces of Zimbabwe.
  • 40 churches with 126 participants were trained in advocacy.