Agricultural infrastructure improvements and increased community capacity to manage shocks may help address vulnerability to droughts and macroeconomic shocks in rural Zimbabwe.

farmer with tomatoes


Zimbabwe is vulnerable to droughts, the effects of which in recent years have been exacerbated by macroeconomic issues. The Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund, a major new partnership between the national government and several international organizations, aims to build resilience to shocks and stresses and protect development gains by increasing community capacity, applying evidence to policy making, and increasing the effectiveness of disaster response.

Complex Risk Environment

Zimbabwe has experienced severe El Nino-induced droughts in recent years that have resulted in successive crop failures. The country’s significant macroeconomic issues have deepened the impact, as remittances fell as a result of the devaluation of the South African rand, and a nationwide cash shortage meant that workers weren’t being paid and the Grain Management Board was late in paying farmers. Formal financial institutions dramatically cut back on providing credit to farmers and livestock owners, making it more difficult to cope with the effects of the drought and mitigate against future shocks.

Resilience Approach

The Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund, a partnership between the Government of Zimbabwe and several international development organizations, aims to build resilience to shocks and stresses and protect development gains by focusing on three key areas:

  • applying evidence to policy making 
  • improving absorptive, adaptive, and transformative capacities of communities
  • timely and cost effective responses to emergencies 

The Fund also supports national surveys that inform resilience programming. Improving agricultural infrastructure, especially related to drought, and improving communities’ ability to manage disaster through empowerment and training are priorities for strengthening resilience in Zimbabwe.

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