27 September 2016
THE Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) has embarked on disaster risk reduction activities focusing on equipping communities with knowledge on what to do when disaster strikes.
The activities which are being funded by the British Red Cross (BRC) are targeting Mwenezi in Masvingo Province and Chipinge in Manicaland Province and have already begun.
ZRCS secretary general Maxwell Phiri said the programme is targeting 1000 beneficiaries from the aforementioned province who will then take the acquired knowledge to their various communities.
“ZRCS is implementing a Community Resilience project with the support of the BRC in Masvingo province targeting Mwenezi district and in Manicaland project targeting Chipinge district.
“Currently the project is working with 1000 beneficiaries from each province and the beneficiaries are expected to increase to 2500 in each district by the end of the 4 to 5 years of project implementation,” said Phiri.
The programme, according to Phiri, is in line with ZRCS’s idea of shifting focus from remedial assistance to empowering communities so that they would be able to deal with future hazards.
“ZRCS has shifted its focus from remedial kind of assistance to focus on building community resilience with the aim of empowering communities so that they are able to withstand future shocks caused by disasters.
“The concept of resilience has emerged as a longer-term more cost-effective strategy for substantially improving regional or local capacity to withstand such shocks and stresses. The IFRC Framework for Community Resilience defines it as “the ability of individuals, communities, organisations, or countries exposed to disaster, crises and underlying vulnerabilities to anticipate, prepare for, reduce the impact of, cope with and recover from the effects of shocks and stresses without compromising their long-term prospects.
“This is the focus of this project so that communities are able to stand on their own without external support,” explained Phiri.
Some of the activities that are being carried out by ZRCS include rehabilitation of water points and construction of water troughs.
There are also centres for excellence aimed at educating farmers on issues like water harvesting technologies, improved and climate smart agriculture with also a focus on better animal management.
“Apart from that, care givers will be trained to provide nutrition education to pregnant and lactating mothers. The trained mothers will also be provided with support to set up nutrition gardens.
“Focus will also be given to equipping communities to be knowledgeable about their hazards. ZRCS volunteers will also receive training in first aid as well as support with First aid kits so that they are better equipped to provide first aid services.”
H-Metro visited a centre in Mwenezi last week where a number of famers had gathered and they hailed the programme which they said will go a long way in changing livelihood in the community.
“The training is helpful and we believe this will go a long way in improving our livelihoods,” said one farmer.