Improving access to food and water, and helping people affected by HIV and AIDS

Political instability and social insecurity have taken their toll on the Zimbabwean economy. The Integrated Rural Development program helps people in the rural Diocese of Gweru improve water and sanitation conditions, increase food security and cope with HIV and AIDS.

New latrines in Zimbabwe

About the program

This program helps build capacity within communities by providing education and training in home-based care, herbal therapy techniques, and project planning and management. It supports water committees and pump minders, builders, and health and hygiene workshops. The aim is to help vulnerable members of the community such as those affected by HIV and AIDS, women, child-headed households, orphans and vulnerable children, people with disabilities, and victims of political violence.

Thr project works towards improving the community's access to safe drinking water. This has reduced water-related diseases such as cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea. Thirteen 'water point' committees were established following training in water management.

Caregivers have reported a reduction in bedridden patients in Gweru thanks to the availablility of medicines, greater willingness among community members to be tested before they fall seriously ill, improved diet, and education provided by caregivers.

The program helps provide agricultural training and supports the establishment and management of nutritional gardens. In 2011/2012, 5 nutrition gardens have been established. The ‘goats pass-on’ project also helps to generate income for vulnerable households.

Program details

  • Issues: Water and sanitation; Food security and agriculture; HIV and AIDS
  • Partner Agency: Caritas Gweru
  • Funding in 2014/15 financial year: US $120,000
  • Geographic location: District of Chirumanzu
  • When established: 2005

Colletta and her family

Colletta’s story

Colletta lived in a district of Zimbabwe that has seen much violence. In 2005, bedridden with tuberculosis, Colletta was found to be HIV positive. As the sole breadwinner, her ill-health affected her whole family. 

Colletta joined the community garden supported by Caritas Gweru. Through the program she learned how to grow vegetables and herbs, and received equipment, seedlings and goats. With improved health, Colletta became an active member in the community’s water management and was able to generate income from her garden.

It was with great sadness that we shared news of Colletta's death in 2012. Read  more about Colletta's story from Project Compassion 2012 »