Anglican Relief and Development in Zimbabwe is the national coordinating agency of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe. It was started in 2008, went down in 2011 but got revived in 2013 and has since operated steadily. It has a national coordinator and a Health coordinator both based in Harare and 5 Diocesan coordinators based in different Diocesan offices across the Country. Zimbabwe has 5 Dioceses i.e. Manicaland, Masvingo, Matambeleland, Central Zimbabwe and Harare. The 5 Dioceses nominate 2 members each to constitute the Board of Directors and the 5 Bishops are the trustees of the organization. The current national coordinator is Artwell Sipinyu. The national office has 5 main functions:
contact and maintaining relationship with partners
- Facilitate exchange learning
- Coordinating the Dioceses
- Reporting to stakeholders and partners
- Capacity building
The Dioceses carry out implementation of different programmes and initiatives with support from different partners and coordinated by the Diocesan development coordinators.
CAPA, ERD and Anglican Alliance have a memorandum of understanding on enhancing the capacity of the Anglican Church in the continent and strengthening it to be better prepared and respond to disasters arising from climatic conditions, disease outbreaks, human activities among others. In this regard, the partnership has set up a concept of accompanying Churches within the Communion christened Partners in Response and Resilience (PiRR) that helps the Churches identify their resource needs and raise a requisition which is responded to appropriately.
Following the disaster caused by Cyclone Idai that occurred in Mozambique, Malawi and Eastern Zimbabwe from the 15th to the 17th of March 2019, the Diocese of Manicaland and Masvingo through Anglican Relief and Development in Zimbabwe raised a requisition for both financial and human resources support. The partnership identified Nicholas Pande from CAPA as the resource person to accompany the Church in their time of response and recovery.
Specifically, the resource person was expected to (during the visit) travel to areas affected by Cyclone, take pictures and videos, and interview affected people. Have time at the offices of ARDeZ to discuss on disaster preparedness planning, proposal writing for emergencies and report writing after implementation of Disaster funds. He was also to share on how to connect with other NGOs in the humanitarian field and if possible meet a few partners together with the ARDeZ team.
These expectations were captured in the following objectives:
- Offer support on how to deal with Disaster preparedness.
- How to engage or drum up support from other NGOs.
- Meetings with other humanitarian partners.
- Improving networking with evangelical agencies
- Discuss on the Church’s representation in government disaster management coordination platforms.
The visit involved visiting the areas affected by the Cyclone i.e. Chimanimani and Chipinge; interviewing those affected by the cyclone and their leaders in those areas; meeting with government officials in charge of the 2 districts affected; meeting with the Bishop and Diocesan Secretary of Manicaland Diocese; meeting with officials of other NGOs i.e. Tearfund and Christian Aid; meeting with officials of ecumenical bodies i.e. ACT Alliance; meeting with national government ministry officials in the ministry of Women Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprise Development and Community Development and a debrief with ARDeZ staff.
Visit Activities and accomplishments
A team of ARDeZ staff i.e. Artwell Sipinyu (National Coordinator), Lucy (Manicaland Diocese Coordinator), Matthias (Masvingo Diocese Coordinator), Linnet (National HIV Coordinator); Clergy (Chimanimani and Chipinge parishes) and Nicholas Pande (PiRR resource person) participated in various activities during the 5-day visit.
The team, with an exception of Linnet, did a 2-day assessment of the affected areas that involved taking photos and checking on the rehabilitation works ongoing. The team observed that many families were still living in the IDP camps and were mainly supported by UNHCR and WFP. We also observed infrastructural rehabilitation ongoing supported by the government and included roads and bridges reconstruction. Some affected schools were also rehabilitating their structures especially the sanitation facilities.
Interview with Augustine Nyeredzawanda Dzingire in Chimanimani
We visited the home of Augustine who is a herdsman in Dzingire Risutu area in Chimanimani District. He oversees 7 villages in the area and doubles as a Church warden at the local St. Peter’s Anglican Church. He recounted to us how there had been continuous heavy rainfall for 2 consecutive days. The nearby bridge called Nyawode collapsed. People who live around the river had their homes washed away and some died in the process. 4 bodies were recovered from the river, 2 were identified but the other 2 were not positively identified with residents assuming they might have been brought there by water from upstream or they were visitors lodging in the area. The president visited the area and consoled with the affected families.
IRC and Africa Smile gave tents. Gateway gave tents and bricks to construct Dzingire School. The excess water from the rains had made the ground marshy and the toilets in the homes and the School caved in. Childline were offering counselling and feeding the children at the time of the visit and they were hosted at the home of Augustine.
Anglican Church Interventions
The Anglican Church through its parish provided aid in food (5 trucks of 10 tons each) and clothing to the communities. The aid distribution was one off, but the people were very happy. The national office of ARDeZ and Bishop of Manicaland came to visit and console with the affected communities.
In the recovery phase, the Church had assisted 25 affected and vulnerable people (8 men, 11 women and 6 children) through cash transfer. A Church warden, Mrs. Chikomba had her homestead washed away. Another member, Mrs. Kashiri lost her husband and child and also got hurt. The parish members had mobilized their resources to support Mrs. Kashiri and had paid school fees for her remaining child for 2 school terms. The Church was also continuing to mobilize resources to reconstruct the affected nearby school where members were donating at least $5 each and men were also providing labour.
Coordination of response
Mr. Augustine generally felt that the response was well coordinated and that the Ubuntu spirit of Zimbabweans worked well in supporting affected families. The army was deployed quickly and helped in rescuing and identifying victims. A helpline was also provided.
Reflections from the experience
- Love was manifested from multiple organizations and people
- Unity of the people was reinforced
Focused Group Discussion with village headman and members in Chipinge
During the second day of our community visits, we had a focused group discussion with John Mahemu (headman), Edson Mulambo (Villager), Enock Mandifura (villager) and Silas Mandifura. They were from Hielrand farm village.
They reflected on the experiences of Chipinge villages during the cyclone which were quite similar to the experiences in Chimanimani. On the effects, they highlighted houses, crops, roads, toilets and bridges as the most affected by the cyclone.
Their main recovery needs were support for farm inputs i.e. fertilizers and planting seeds; rehabilitation of water sources i.e. shallow wells that were washed away; construction of shelter for victims and water tanks for clean water for domestic use.
Meetings with Government officers
The team also paid courtesy calls to 2 government offices in Chipinge and Harare. Despite securing an appointment with the government officials in Chimanimani, the team were not granted a hearing by the District Civil Protection Coordinator under whose office the emergency response and preparedness falls. The District Administrator had granted us an appointment but got engaged in the afternoon of our visit. On delegation to the DCPC, the latter refused to listen to us citing need for clearance from the provincial boss, a procedure we were not privy to, so we did not engage.
Meeting with District Administrator of Chipinge District, Manicaland Province
We met with the District Administrator Comrade Mashawa and his deputy Salani in their offices in Chipinge town. They shared with us the government interventions and plans as well as areas of support seeking. During the emergency, the government distributed food and none food items. They said the government had declared the emergency phase over and they were not then expecting emergency interventions like clothes and food but required support in rehabilitating the destroyed infrastructure of dams and roads.
The office of the DA was coordinating responding agencies where they held weekly meetings and were organized into different clusters based on focus areas of the agencies.
We agreed that the DA would immediately incorporate ARDeZ through the Manicaland Diocesan Development Coordinator who would attend the weekly meetings of stakeholders and cluster meetings for shelter and WASH.
Meeting with Ambassador Rudo Chitiga, Mabel – Permanent Secretary Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development in Harare.
Artwell, Lynette and I visited the PS whom we had secured an appointment with through a colleague in CAPA. We briefed her of the work of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe through the 5 Dioceses and ARDeZ. We then shared on the Church’s specific role in the Cyclone situation. We also mentioned of the Church’s plan to accord some support in the shelter needs among the most vulnerable victims as well as intentions of conducting a TOT on trauma healing through the Mother’s Union.
She was impressed by the work of the Church and affirmed it citing her own belief in the role of the Church in Society and the government’s perspective of the Church as an honest broker and critical partner in community engagement and development.
She highlighted livelihood recovery and recreating communities as the focus of the recovery phase for victims of the cyclone. The government was keen on:
- Establishing infrastructure that supports livelihoods
- Establishing a one stop center for Gender Based Violence victims in Chipinge.
- Trauma healing
- SME recovery (lost businesses profiling and support to existing businesses)
- Supporting families of migrant victims who were bread winners.
- Supporting Children enrollment in Schools
The PS agreed to add ARDeZ to the ministry’s stakeholders’ forum on gender affairs and work closely with the Church on other matters of community development.
She also agreed to share with us the detailed statistics of the affected households and extent of impact by the cyclone to guide interventions of recovery phase.
Meetings with Non-Governmental Development Agencies
The other category of groups we met during the visit was the Christian Non-governmental development agencies, some of whom are already in partial partnership with ARDeZ.
Meeting with Tearfund in Harare
Together with Artwell and Lynnette, we met Mrs. Idzai Murimba, the program manager for Tearfund Zimbabwe. We discussed the 2 organization’s areas of focus and possible areas of partnership. The PM reported that Tearfund currently had 4 partners in Zimbabwe at both national and lower levels.
They had an active partnership with the Diocese of Manicaland but not others. They had however supported ARDeZ in capacity building of Diocesan coordinators, development of strategic plan and resource mobilization.
On current programming and possible partnership, the PM said they were in the process of scoping for new partnerships and ARDeZ had an opportunity if they would meet the partnership requirements by Tearfund.
Their thematic focus was on:
- Integral mission (CCMP)
- Creating healthy families (Gender)
- Livelihoods, food security and resilience
- Artwell to attend a meeting on Self Help Group Concept on Wednesday 24th July 2019.
- Tearfund to include ARDeZ staff in a training on their DRR tool Participatory Assessment of Disaster Risk (PADR) to be conducted before September through Cyclone Idai budget. The workshop will take 8 days.
- Artwell to pursue registration of ARDeZ and put other administrative requirements in place in readiness for partnership scoping OCA by Tearfund.
Meeting with Christian Aid and ACT Alliance in Harare
Since Christian Aid and ACT Alliance share office block, we had agreed on a joint meeting. The meeting was attended by Decide Mabumbu, Idai Response Coordinator from Christian Aid and Ms. Sostina, the ACT Alliance coordinator in Zimbabwe.
Ms. Sostina shared about ACT Alliance’s membership and thematic focus. She talked of their 13 members, 2 who were local and 11 International. The 2 local organizations were Zimbabwe Church Council and Zimbabwe Christian Alliance. They were focusing on:
- Livelihood and climate justice
- Justice, Peace and Reconciliation
- Gender Justice
- Active Citizenship
ACT Alliance were also in the process of developing an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
We agreed that Artwell would attend the next ACT Alliance meeting on 22nd August 2019 and thereafter pursue membership registration. The coordinator welcomed ARDeZ to ACT Alliance membership.
Mr. Decide shared of what they had been doing with the affected communities in Chipinge, Bikhita and Buhera. These were areas that had little attention by partners during response since most partners went to Chimanimani. CA was conducting a livelihoods recovery assessment to inform recovery activities.
They had also planned for a community psychosocial support training and a Participatory Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (a tool used by CA in Disaster risk assessment) training.
ARDeZ staff to be included in the community psychosocial support trainings to be conducted at Bikhita for participants from Buhera, Chipinge and Bikhita.
Christian Aid to consider broader partnerships with ARDeZ and inclusion of its staff in their capacity building activities.
Meeting with Rt. Rev. Erick Ruwona, Bishop of Manicaland Diocese
While in Mutare town, at the Diocesan offices of Manicaland Diocese, we met with the Bishop and the Diocesan Secretary. We briefed him of the observations of our community visits in Chimanimani and Chipinge and subsequently discussed about the Church’s role in communities’ recovery and strengthening of ARDeZ as a national coordinating agency of the Church’s development work. He highlighted 2 areas to be the priority of the Church in the Idai disaster recovery.
- Shelter for the most vulnerable
- Children enrollment in School – The Church had already enrolled 30 students in its different schools and could consider enrolling more of those affected.
The Bishop also reported that they were working closely with Zimbabwe Council of Churches and perceived that joint ecumenical response will be bigger and more impactful. He hence endorsed the idea of having ARDeZ’s join ACT Alliance.
On strethening of ARDeZ, the Bishop was upbeat that the agency will be fully fledged soon enough since the 5 Dioceses had appointed 2 representatives each to represent them in the inaugural board of Directors. The board was inducted in May 2019 and were due to hold their first meeting after their names are submitted to the Anglican Council for ratification. The board has been drawn from diverse professional backgrounds and experiences i.e. lawyers, Human Resources practitioners, Development workers, Finance managers among others.
Visit Debriefing meeting with ARDeZ staff
After conducting all the visits and meetings, I had a debriefing meeting with ARDeZ staff team in Harareto reflect on the visit and the next steps. We specifically discussed ARDeZ priority focus areas, their training priority needs, strengthening of their networks and partnership, developing an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan and proposal writing for both emergency and development projects.
The thematic focus of ARDeZ is in Health (They currently implement an HIV stigma reduction project in all the 5 Dioceses supported by USPG), Education, Food Security (Some Dioceses are currently implementing a food security project), Environment and Gender Based Violence. They are using participatory approaches in community engagement and have established UMOJA approach in Manicaland where the rest of the interventions are anchored.
ARDeZ staff currently desire capacity development /enhancement in:
- Disaster Risk Management
- HIV management and trauma healing and
- Gender Based Violence
I took the national coordinator and the Health coordinator through a project proposal development process and provided a Micah template that is comprehensive enough. I also took the coordinator through the process of developing an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan and provided him with a template to help develop ARDeZ own EPRP.
Conclusions and Way forward
The trip met most of its desired outputs despite falling one day behind schedule. We were able to successfully visit all the planned community sites and collected stories and photos; able to visit 2 government offices and secured inclusion in government processes and activities; held discussions with 3 non-governmental organizations and secured training opportunities and opened discussions for partnership; discussed on strengthening operations of ARDeZ, EPRP and proposal development.
We agreed that ARDeZ will do the following:
- Fastrack their registration
- Fill their administrative gaps before Tearfund conduct the assessment of their partnership scoping.
- Identify the most vulnerable households in need of shelter to benefit from the Harvest Appeal support from Anglican Alliance.
- Artwell to follow up the discussions initiated with Tearfund, Christian Aid, ACT Alliance and the government offices.
- ARDeZ to follow up with Mothers’ Union to help plan for the Trauma Healing TOT.
- Artwell to send the EPRP within 2 weeks after the visit.
Lessons Learnt and recommendations
- Community structures are critical in an emergency response. The Ubuntu spirit among the Zimbabweans and the village leadership helped a great deal in the response situation and responding agencies could capitalize on that during their response.
- There should be wider scoping of potential disasters during planning stages. Despite having planned for and responded to drought, no one ever imagined a disaster arising from cyclone hazards in Zimbabwe.
- Requisition for accompaniment in an emergency should be done and responded to within the shortest time possible. This accompaniment benefitted more the recovery processes than the preparedness and response.