Assessing non-governmental organizations (NGOS) drought risk management strategies in Gwanda District, Zimbabwe
Bhebe, Babra Ontibile
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Drought represents a major constraint on agricultural production in Zimbabwe. Every year, NGOs intervene in drought affected areas to alleviate hunger and starvation. According to the Zimbabwe VuLnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) (2012) approximately 1 million people (12 per cent of the population) required food assistance at the peak of the 2011/2012 dry season. It is argued that, this number increased in 2013 to 1.6 million - which accounted to nearly one in five rural people in Zimbabwe (ZimVAC, 2012). Drought has had wide ranging effects to communities including; widespread malnutrition, deaths of livestock, loss of income, declining environmental health standards and massive migration. Amongst the factors that worsen drought impact in Zimbabwe are HIV/AIDS, massive dependence on rain fed agriculture and climate change. Past studies have focused on coping strategies adopted by drought distressed communities covering different case studies. Although this has been useful in understanding the survival strategies of communities, researchers have not studied the drought problem and how non- governmental organizations have contributed in mitigating it. This thesis therefore contributes new and unique evidence on the approaches employed by NGOs in mitigating drought in Zimbabwe. The study is specifically based on a case study which was conducted in Masholomoshe village located in Ward 1 of Gwanda rural district. Through the use of both secondary and documented evidence and primary data the study found out that, most NGO drought interventions are short term relief measures and do not focus on preparedness, prevention, or mitigation aspects of drought management. This thesis also reveals the need to promote proactive drought risk reduction strategies and activities to address community vulnerabilities to drought rather than relying solely on emergency response measures. This entails a 'transition from crisis management' to 'drought risk management'. The conclusions from this large and original dataset are placed within the context of the wider academic debates. The need for new, relevant and more diverse samples is emphasized to advance discussions on the effectiveness of NGO strategies in drought risk management in Gwanda.