About OCHA Zimbabwe
OCHA has been in Zimbabwe since 2006 to help reduce acute vulnerability through coordinated humanitarian action. OCHA Zimbabwe focuses on coordinating the humanitarian response to human suffering caused by food insecurity, epidemics (HIV/AIDS, cholera, measles, etc.) and poor social-services accessibility; preparedness and prevention efforts to reduce future vulnerability to natural disasters; and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable communities. OCHA also has a key role in bridging humanitarian and development action.
Zimbabwe faces tremendous challenges. Cholera and malaria outbreaks continue to strain the country’s weak health system, and access to safe water and sanitation remains a problem. Zimbabwe has one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates (14 per cent), but only a quarter of those people who live with the virus receive anti-retroviral treatment.
Frequent droughts have strained food security and one third of children under age 5 are chronically malnourished. The education sector suffers from severe shortages in essential supplies, high staff turnover and sporadic teachers’ strikes. Child protection and gender-based violence are issues of concern.
About 3 million Zimbabweans have left the country in the last decade. Half of these people are in South Africa, but they risk being sent home as the special dispensation for Zimbabweans without immigration status was lifted in 2011. The economy has been weakened by more than a decade of decline and political challenges that keep the country in a fragile state and compromise the Government’s ability to respond to sudden emergencies.
OCHA in Zimbabwe aims to:
- Provide coordination and leadership in the humanitarian response.
- Promote humanitarian principles through training and consultations with humanitarian partners and regular field visits.
- Advocate the protection of vulnerable people and marginalized groups.
- Develop a disaster preparedness strategy in consultation with the broader humanitarian community.
- Provide information management support.