Join us this Sunday at 10:30am for our Christian Aid service when we will be introduced to two ladies – Jessica and Janet, from Zimbabwe.
For Jessica Mwedzi, drought means every day is a struggle for survival.
Like many women in rural Zimbabwe – 7 out of 10 rely on farming for income and food – she toils on her farm, but nothing can grow on her ashen, dry land. Drought starves and, intensified by the climate crisis, drives families into hunger.
Jessica recalls that:
“One year we had no rain. The scorching sun burnt my crops just as they were about to bloom. It was so painful and disheartening”
It’s unjust that drought robs Jessica of the power to provide for her family. Her husband is unwell, so she’s the only breadwinner. Her children look up to her, but she has nothing left to give. But Jessica is anything but helpless. In the face of drought, her love for her family gives her courage to stand strong – and we stand with Jessica.
Janet Zirugo and her family are receiving support from the Christian Aid led ZRBF-BRACT Programme to build their resilience capacities to climate change and other shocks. Mutoko District, where Janet comes from, experiences harsh climatic condition with extended dry spells in recent years.
In the past, Janet’s family has gone through drought which affected their harvests. The drought drove the family into hunger forcing them to seek relief food.
But to improve food security and income generation, the programme has supported the family grow diversified traditional grains like pearl millet and other small grains as part of the climate smart agriculture interventions. Through conservation agriculture, Janet has seen an improvement in crop production from her farm. She can now sell to local cereal boards and keep more for home consumption. Eating traditional grains is also important for their nutrition and health.
“During that drought, with no harvests, and little food, seeing my children and grandchildren without enough to eat was heart-breaking, I thought they were going to die, it was such a distressing moment, we had to get relief food.”
“When I gauged that food that I had prepared I knew right away that it was not enough. So I would let boys eat on one plate, and girls on another plate, but even so, I would still realise that some were not having enough food. I would give them my plate before I ate. I would take just take two handfuls just to survive, but I was content that my children had something to eat. “
“Using conservation agriculture that we have been trained, planting of small grains, we now realize that despite little rainfall, we can still harvest good crops”
“We have been trained on how to make and use compost use manure for our farms, then we were taught on conservation agriculture, the we were taught on preparation of feeds for livestock.”
About the BRACT Project
Christian Aid, through the BRACT project, has contributed to increased absorptive, adaptive and transformative resilience capacities in the two districts of Mutoko and Mudzi. The project is stimulating climate-smart crop and livestock production, profitable production and marketing of drought tolerant field crops, horticulture, post-harvesting processes (including storage), fodder production, farming as a business and marketing skills.
Through the project, households are receiving support to increase regular consumption of traditionally produced nutritious foods. The project also supports vocational and entrepreneurship activities for young people to diversify their sources of livelihood.
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For more information on giving to Christian Aid during Christian Aid Week please see our previous post below.