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People and the River



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Poverty Alleviation: Zimbabwe  

There have been several poverty alleviation plans implemented in Zimbabwe over the last few decades. The Growth with Equity policy was implemented in 1981 with the goal of achieving economic growth that could be distributed throughout the population (Chinake 1997). Included in the plan were the initiatives to provide free health care and education to everyone, to promote rural development and integrate rural farmers into the market structure, and to increase minimum wages. Because of the costs of these development programmes there were negative effects on growth (Chinake 1997). The Economic Structural Adjustment Programme was later introduced to implement market-based economic reforms; these inadvertently further marginalised the poor and disadvantaged. The failings of these strategies led to a more effective programme- the Poverty Alleviation Action Plan (PAAP), which was implemented in 1994.

Case Study

The 1997 Chinake paper concluded that "The main causes of inequality, poverty and malnutrition in Zimbabwe’s rural areas have been identified as being a lack of sufficient credit, infrastructure and social services. Women still have less access to land and inputs, although they do most of the agricultural work…”.

In line with Chinake’s (1997) findings, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stifung’s Zimbabwe office, in partnership with the Self Help Development Foundation, launched the EU co-funded project “Capacity building as a tool for more effective poverty alleviation of marginalised rural women in Zimbabwe”, in 2008. The project is focused on poverty reduction through the creation of ‘saving clubs’ that allow women to save money and become financially independent of their husbands (KAS 2010). This is a three-year project aiming for a target of 2 160 saving club leaders and 324 000 beneficiaries overall by 2011. At the end of the project it is hoped that women will be more empowered to deal with adverse situations occurring in their localities (KAS 2010).

Children collecting water near Matopos, Zimbabwe.
Source: Schaefer 2010
( click to enlarge )



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