BY LORRAINE MUROMO
MOST families in the Matabeleland region are either child-headed or female-headed after they lost one or both of their parents, and are reportedly in need of assistance to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, NewsDay has learnt.
Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) Sizimele spokesperson Patience Ukama told NewsDay during a media tour of Matabeleland region last week that there was need to drum up support for orphaned children so that they are not tempted to enter into early child marriages.
“A lot of households in urban communities are now headed by children. In Entumbane (Bulawayo) and other areas, we are working mostly with females, and we have encountered a lot of child or elderly-headed households,” she said.
“We prioritise those child-headed and female-headed families when we conduct our baseline studies to be able to indicate how many households have female heads, and also child-and elderly-headed families.”
Ukama said their training programmes were more inclined towards women to ensure they benefited from the programmes.
“In our trainings, we have been teaching vendors how to make disinfectants, and how to apply the COVID-19 protocols. We are very cautious of the numbers we get here at Entumbane as most vendors are females,” she said.
“In terms of the household level, we understand that even if they are households that are not female-led, most of the decisions around household supplies are made by women.”
Ukama said they were encouraged by the uptake of the various projects offered by ZRBF under the Sizimele programme.
“It’s been positive and we have seen some good results in terms of attendance at our training sessions. People are being open to a new way of doing things like observing COVID-19 protocols,” she said.
“The challenge is mostly around education and information, where most people do not understand why they are being encouraged to adopt a certain way of responding to issues. You get resistance, it’s human nature.”
DanChurchAid markets specialist for rural and urban resilience, Shadreck Zhou, said his organisation had now gone a step further to ensure that vendors adopted new technologies such as online marketing in a bid to cope with the pandemic.
“We are closely working with Bulawayo City Council to make sure that we centralise markets and encourage vendors to come out of town and work in residential areas too,” he said.
ZRBF is a long-term development initiative with an overall objective of contributing to increased capacity of communities.