If you’re an avid follower of the news, you’ll likely have heard of anti-government demonstrations and protests happening in Zimbabwe over the past fortnight. Fortunately these have been largely peaceful, but I thought it would be useful to provide a bit of context from Creating Better Futures perspective.
What’s the situation?
Zimbabwe has been in financial difficulties since 2009 when the Zimbabwean dollar was abandoned in favour of US dollars and other foreign currencies following a period of hyperinflation. There are clearly a variety of reasons for this, with many commentators noting Zimbabwe imports more than it exports and that international sanctions in place have restricted investment. This has gradually caused a build-up of pressure in the finance and banking system.
For a number of weeks, banks in Zimbabwe have been restricting the amount of money that can be withdrawn each day, there have also been bans on imports of a number of goods and have been delays in payment of salaries to state employees, such as civil servants, teachers, nurses, police and soldiers.
These financial difficulties have combined with the worst drought in decades across southern Africa, resulting in many people struggling to afford or grow enough food to feed themselves. This is truly an extremely challenging time for Zimbabwe and its people. Orphans and vulnerable children we support are among the hardest hit and least able to respond to challenges.
How does this impact CBF?
There are a number of factors impacting our work in Zimbabwe; the withdrawal limits meaning our team has to make daily visits to the bank; shut downs of public services have resulted in scheduled medical appointments for some children being cancelled; import restrictions affect prices and availability of certain goods and shut downs have restricted number of visits we’re able to make.
In addition, we’ve been impacted by the weakened exchange rate of British pound to US dollar following the Brexit result.
However, Creating Better Futures is in a strong position to respond effectively to these challenges and to continue our important work.
First, our team of volunteers in Zimbabwe provide us with real time information about what’s happening on the ground. They’re able to find the most effective way to overcome challenges as they arise. This allows us to respond to changing situations.
Secondly as we work directly with, and have the trust of, local schools and communities we’re able to ensure our services continue to be delivered despite the disruption. Given the food shortages, our Feeding Programme providing porridge and a nutritious drink (Maheu) to children at three primary schools provides an increasingly vital lifeline.
Thirdly, Creating Better Futures has good management in place, including deep knowledge of Zimbabwe and strong links with local churches and Rotary clubs, which means our work has the necessary oversight and accountability in challenging circumstances.
Unfortunately, due to the uncertainty and unrest we have made the difficult decision to postpone our summer Mission Trip to Zimbabwe, which was planned for August. We’re disappointed, but made the decision to ensure the safety and security of those who were due to travel with us. We intend to reschedule this trip to early 2017.
How can you help?
Education is the long term solution to helping children break out from the cycle of poverty, however, shorter term pressures and challenges can prevent children from going to school.
At this time we really need even more support from our generous supporters, to enable us to respond to varied challenges this situation brings. Please consider making a one-off or regular gift to enable our important work to continue and allow us to respond to challenges ahead.
Whilst children we support are among the hardest hit, they are still receiving education and our continued involvement strengthens this by ensuring their schools receive appropriate fees for each of the children we support. You have the opportunity to help us to stand in the gap and be part of the solution.
Please hold Zimbabwe in your thoughts and prayers, particularly children we support, teachers at their schools, communities where they live and CBF volunteers who ensure children receive the support they need.
Michael Dix, Co-Founder & Treasurer
If you’d like to make a difference to children we support, you can;
- Volunteer in the UK and Zimbabwe
- Help with admin, digital marketing and fundraising in our Reading office
- Look at Indeed jobsearch for our current volunteering roles
- Help teach children, construct boreholes, classrooms and toilets in Zimbabwe
- Help support the education of children in Africa
- Promote us at your church, club, school and work
- Book Dorothy Dix (CEO & Founder) to talk at your organisation or school assembly; she’ll share her passionate, encouraging account of growing up in Zimbabwe
- Organise activities and events using our fundraising ideas
- Fundraise for us, donate at JustGiving or text CBFZ10 £10 to 70070
- Ask people who support your fundraising event to sign a Gift Aid form
- If people sign your Gift Aid form, the government gives 25p extra for every £1 you raise so we get £1.25
- Sponsor a child for £15 a month to give them skills, vision and motivation
- Have fun choosing items to fill a shoebox and the joy of opening one lasts forever
- Purchase from retailers at easyfundraising; we get a percentage of what you spend
- Take advantage of retailer discounts at Savoo and we get a donation from every purchase you make
- Use easysearch to search the Internet, instead of Google, so we benefit
- Promote us by liking and sharing our blogs, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter posts