Under a two-year Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation that began in May 2013, WFP and cooperating partners are providing three main categories of food assistance: Productive Asset Creation, Health and Nutrition Promotion, and Disaster Response and Risk Reduction.
In 2013, the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) estimated that 2.2 million food-insecure people in rural areas will be unable to meet their basic food requirements in the 2013/2014 consumption period until the next harvest in April 2014. WFP and partners are responding by providing Seasonal Targeted Assistance to meet the food needs of highly vulnerable groups during this lean season. Food distributions and cash transfers will begin in October and the programme will be scaled up incrementally.
As a longer term response to food insecurity in Zimbabwe, WFP focuses on productive asset creation activities through its Food for Assets programme where community members receive food while they work on projects (such as irrigation schemes or water harvesting) that improve their ability to cope with recurrent drought and other shocks.
Through its Health and Nutrition programme, WFP assists in the nutritional recovery of ART/TB patients; malnourished pregnant and breast-feeding mothers; and children under five years of age and their families.
In the past decade, WFP has assisted millions of food-insecure people across Zimbabwe, reaching peak levels in early 2009 when hyper-inflation and a breakdown of the commercial supply-chain led to empty shelves in shops.
Recent changes in Zimbabwe, however, have enabled a shift in humanitarian support from emergency to development assistance. Consequently, WFP is moving from a ‘Hunger Response’ to a ‘Hunger Solutions’-based approach. Operations increasingly focus on initiating early recovery activities which offer a more sustainable solution to food insecurity and inadequate nutrition. The strategy combines relief and early recovery elements and prioritises food assistance through in-kind food interventions and voucher/cash transfers schemes.