As a nation, Zimbabwe has gone through massive changes and experienced major turmoil over the past several decades. The people have survived violence and poverty, and the country has only recently begun to re-stabilize. Once the wealthiest nation in southern Africa, the currency has devalued multiple times, reducing its value to virtually nothing. The political system is corrupt, and many educated people have left the country. Hunger runs rampant across the countryside, and racial tensions continue to run deep, which leaves conflict over business and land ownership and often leads to conflict. There are many humanitarian NGOS that work to assist the people of Zimbabwe. The following five are international organizations that have made a demonstrably positive impact in the country and retain a regular presence there.
One of the most well-known humanitarian organizations in the world, World Vision operates in over 90 countries. It is considered the main humanitarian NGO operating in Zimbabwe, where it has worked since 1973. In Zimbabwe, World Vision provides assistance and relief to children and families in the fields of large-scale community development and sustainability. World Vision has also responded to the growing humanitarian needs caused by the economic and political crises, working to provide food security, healthcare services, education, and water and sanitation services. Their projects reach over one million people across the country and make a huge impact for the communities they serve.
Zimbabwe continues to struggle with severe unemployment and economic crisis. This has caused limited access to both health and education services, caused food insecurity, and diminished the overall infrastructure in the country. Mercy Corps is committed to reaching the most vulnerable citizens and stimulating growth through three main areas: agriculture and food, children and youth, and innovation. Mercy Corps projects aim to reduce the country’s dependence on food aid by lowering credit barriers and supporting community development approaches to markets. With children and youth, aid workers interact with children in poverty and with disabilities, aiming to reintegrate them into mainstream society through access to activities. On the technology front, the organization aims to help farmers utilize innovate methods for agriculture and market services. Like other organizations, Mercy Corps also address the issue of clean drinking water and sanitation services.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been working in Zimbabwe for many years, as well. They strive to assist the most underserved communities and populations through relevant projects and strategic partnerships with local organizations. They focus on sector-specific capacity building, addressing vulnerabilities and utilizing a community’s strengths to build and adopt sustainable practices. Staff are highly qualified and undergo training to manage specific programmatic expertise, which allows the organization to complete operations swiftly and efficiently. Projects focus on humanitarian relief, recovery, and rural and urban development.
Plan International is another international NGO that works around the world. In Zimbabwe, Plan focuses on helping children to achieve a quality education. Their projects provide access to early childhood services as well as protection at all ages. Food, health, and water and sanitation projects are also used throughout the country. With late teens and early adults, Plan International seeks to engage people in programs that allows to learn skills that promote sustainable livelihoods and improve income security. They do this through diversifying livelihood approaches and opportunities, building the resiliency of individuals and communities and preparing them to overcome adversity. The organization works hand-in-hand with the government to improve school governance and learning environments, as well as enhancing the capacity of development committees.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has been serving communities in Zimbabwe since 1980. Although the agency first acted solely as a disaster relief organization, it has transitioned its goals and programming to focus on long-term development. Farming and agriculture is one of their central focuses, with community garden networks existing across the country thanks to their initiatives and educational programs. After shifting away from providing immediate emergency relief, ADRA has developed and implemented programs that combat poor health and nutrition as well as food insecurity. They emphasize their work on improving the health and social standards for infants, children, and mothers and, like other organizations, seek to improve water and sanitation standards for impoverished communities throughout the country.