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Priscilla inspects her drought-affected fields of millet next to her home in Hwange district, north-western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Priscilla's story

Zimababwe

Climate change continues to bring unprecedented challenges for people living in the most vulnerable and remote communities in Zimbabwe. With the support of Caritas Hwange, Priscilla learnt conservation farming skills to grow drought-resistant crops and started poultry farming to support her family during the current food crisis. 

Priscilla, her husband Charles and their grandsons Obry (8) and Jayden (7) outside their home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia
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Priscilla, her husband Charles and their grandsons Obry (8) and Jayden (7) outside their home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Priscilla lives in the Hwange district in Zimbabwe with her husband, Charles, and her two grandsons. In Hwange, the impacts of climate change are exacerbating food insecurity in vulnerable communities. This can be seen in the erratic rainfall patterns, prolonged dry spells, poor agricultural soils and high temperatures in the region.  

“We had plenty of rains at first but as time has gone by, the rains have become erratic and hence the yields have been reduced,” Priscilla said. 

During times of intense drought and food shortages, Priscilla had to commute to the town centre and wait in long queues to collect food.  

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Priscilla inspects her drought affected fields of millet next to her home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

It was stressful because we didn't know what to give our children because there was nothing to give them.

Priscilla

Priscilla joined the Zimbabwe Integrated Community Development Program, implemented by partner Caritas Hwange and funded by Caritas Australia. Through the program, Priscilla and her community learnt conservation farming techniques to grow drought-resistant crops to help mitigate the effects of climate change.  

Priscilla was able to produce a bumper harvest in her first year of practicing in conservation farming.  

Priscilla also used the funds from her harvest to start poultry farming, where she can sell eggs to pay for her grandchildren’s school fees, books and stationery. The poultry farming provides a safety net for Priscilla and her family during times of hardship, like the current drought.

Priscilla waters her vegetables at a community nutrition garden near her home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia
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Priscilla waters her vegetables at a community nutrition garden near her home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia
Priscilla watches her cattle enter the dip tank near her home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia
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Priscilla watches her cattle enter the dip tank near her home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

In addition to conservation farming training, Caritas Hwange has helped Priscilla boost her food security through a range of activities, including participating in a community nutrition garden to grow and sell vegetables, and rehabilitating the dip tanks to keep her cows healthy and reduce the prevalence of tick-borne diseases. Caritas Hwange also rehabilitated a community dam near Priscilla’s house, so cattle can have access to water all year.   

While the situation in Zimbabwe and across eastern Africa remains dire, the work of Caritas Hwange means that Priscilla can learn the techniques, tools and resources she needs to build resilience and support her family during this current food crisis.  

 “We are indeed grateful to Caritas Hwange for the knowledge,” Priscilla said. “Today we have knowledge and skills that we didn’t have before and are able to use to earn a living.” 

Along with your generous support, this program is also supported by the Australian Government, through Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Your donation can help:

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Priscilla holds millet from this year’s harvest in her storeroom at her home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Train rural communities to learn conservation farming techniques and grow drought-resistant crops

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Priscilla's husband Charles fills water storage drums at their home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Rehabilitate boreholes so community can have access to clean water

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Priscilla’s grandchildren, Obry (8) and Jayden (7), read their school books at their home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

Support children to go to school by providing stationery

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Priscilla feeds her broiler chickens at her home in Hwange district, north western Zimbabwe. Photo: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia

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