US releases over US$600,000 to Zimbabwe CSOs for ‘community development projects’

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By Thandiwe Garusa

THE United States government, through the U.S. Embassy’s ambassador’s Self-Help Program, is providing more than US$647,000 to nineteen Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) towards several community development projects around the country.

The project is targeting CSOs in Harare Metropolitan, Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, and Midlands provinces.

Speaking during the grants signing ceremony, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Elaine French said the country has potential despite economic hardships at hand.

“The people of Zimbabwe face great economic challenges, but everywhere I go, from Harare to Chipinge, I see enormous potential and resilience.

“The United States will continue to help the people of Zimbabwe through programs that help communities unlock their own potential and improve their living standards,” French said.

The embassy has awarded more than $2 million through the ambassador’s self-help program for community-driven projects over the past ten years.

Some of the current projects are the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) small grant to the Baptist Union of Zimbabwe Orphan Care, which will provide US$4,800 to unemployed youths in Zvavahera Community, Gutu, Masvingo Province with a low-cost income generating project.

The Julia Taft Refugee Fund small grant to Childline Zimbabwe for $25,000, which will support 300 young caregivers and will indirectly benefit 1 200 children with vocational and livelihood training in Manicaland’s Tongogara Refugee Camp.

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund will provide $7,767 to Jedidiah Trust for the improvement of food security and nutrition of children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers. The project will drill a borehole, install a drip irrigation system, and establish a market and nutrition garden in Chegutu.

Meanwhile, NGOs have been fighting for the withdrawal of the  Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) amendment bill which they say – if passed in its current form – will restrict civic space and access to humanitarian support.