I got an email about a week ago from a dynamic woman working hard in her home country of Malawi:
“I am obviously biased towards Malawi because that is home to me, but I grew up in Zimbabwe and I break down every time I see any media on what’s going on there and when I hear from friends still in the country. I was wondering if you would consider writing a blog on what’s going on there just so that we can get a little bit more attention to the matter. I think you have a great group of people reading the blog and every bit of focus on this horrendous situation would help.”
Not knowing the facts well enough to share here with you I did some research:
- The Zimbabwean economy is in a state of prolonged crisis
- Of it’s 13 million people, 56% live on less than $1 per day
- It’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is the fourth highest in the world with as many as 27% of the population under 50 infected
- Their life expectancy of 40.9 years makes it the fourth lowest in the world
- 47% lack sustainable access to safe sanitation
- 19% of the rural population lack sustainable access to improved water supplies
- There are an estimated 1.3 million orphans
According to a Research Paper No. 2008/41 of UNU-Wider (World Institute for Development Economics Research, “Statistics and trends are hardly able to convey the magnitude of the current crisis in Zimbabwe.” They went on to explain that Zimbabwe’s GDP is down by 40% since 2000, agricultural production has reduced by 50% in the same period, approximately 80% of adults are unemployed and 85% are now categorized as poor.
How can this be? It seems to have been a result of the perfect storm comprised of adverse climate conditions (drought), persistence of HIV/AIDS and political crisis. In the news are such horrific stories like the one about 700,000 citizens being left homeless by the bulldozing of their homes, also causing millions more to starve after violent land seizures that destroyed their farming.
Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Darfur….they all need our help desperately. If you are interested in learning more about efforts to help: ONE.org, Global Giving, Direct Relief, SOS Children’s Villages, GOAL, are just a few. You can simply Goggle Zimbabwe Poverty and you will find pages and pages of resources and ongoing efforts of aid of all kinds.
I am grateful yet saddened to have learned so much more about the current plight of Zimbabwe. But, now I truly understand why she wanted me to write about it. We have so much to do.