How Lent donations save lives in Zimbabwe

16 February 2018

Livison Chipatiso, CAFOD’s Zimbabwe programme officer, is visiting parishes across England and Wales throughout Lent to tell them about our life-saving nutrition work in Zimbabwe. He explains how your Family Fast Day donations, together with match funding from the UK Government, can make a real difference. 

Why is malnutrition a problem in Zimbabwe? 

Jeffrey measures a child at the mobile baby clinic

A village health worker in Simatelele measures and weighs children

As a country, we struggle to grow enough food for the population. One in three people in Zimbabwe are undernourished and going hungry.

This is due to the collapse of the economy, combined with changes in the climate. 

This time of year – from January to March - is the most difficult time of year for food. In villages where CAFOD is not yet working, the hunger levels are just too high. If you visit families there, you will see what malnutrition is like in a child. It’s distressing. 

When children go hungry for months or years on end, their bodies struggle to fight off everyday infections. Many children die from these infections. 

Find out how £56 can plant a garden full of vegetables 

What is CAFOD doing? 

We are working with the local Catholic Church to tackle malnutrition. We do this in three different ways - through helping people grow more food, training communities to understand good nutrition, and providing clean water. 

In areas where we are working, I have seen malnutrition go right down. Children are happier, healthier, and more likely to stay in school. 

How will Lent donations be used? 

The Chileya community garden group with tools

The Chileya community garden group with tools provided by Caritas Hwange.

While we are seeing a reduction in hunger and improvement in diets, our response is limited and I can see clear areas where our expertise is needed. 

Donations to the Family Fast Day Appeal will be doubled by the UK Government, helping to fund a three-year project to improve nutrition not only in Zimbabwe, but also in Eritrea and Zambia. 

I have met many people who would benefit from these funds – children who are too hungry to go to school, mothers who regularly skip meals, and fathers who are ashamed they cannot provide for their family. 

Anything you can give to the appeal will help these families. 

Have you received match funding before? 

Yes, and I was so pleased to hear that we’ve been awarded match funding for our Lent Appeal again this year because these funds are so important. 

Using match funding from the Lent 2012 Appeal, I worked on a project to restore a reservoir in Gokwe district. The reservoir now provides water for 30,000 local people, all year round. In an area so dry, I never thought water would come. 

This is a fantastic achievement and is thanks not only to the donations but also to the local people who are committed to maintaining the reservoir. I am confident that funds from this year’s Lent Appeal will be well used in this area to combat malnutrition.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Lent Appeal. Your gifts will change lives around the world. And if you donated between 13 February and 12 May, the UK Government will double your donation! 

If you raised money in your parish or school over Lent and still need to pay in the proceeds, you can still have your collection matched.

Donate to the Lent Appeal

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