A case study of Non-Governmental Organisations' (NGOS) responses to food insecurity in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The following study highlights the institutional failures in Zimbabwe which have resulted in social and economic underdevelopment. As such, poverty in Zimbabwe has manifested in various aspects, particularly food deprivation. This study focuses on the response of two Non-Governmental Organisations to food insecurity in the rural Matabeleland provinces. The research aims are to: define poverty and food insecurity; understand the reasons behind the food insecurity crisis; describe the extent of poverty and food insecurity; explore NGO responses to the food insecurity crisis and to discuss the impact of these interventions. This research is guided by Sen's (1999) 'development as freedom' approach as well as literature reviews from various researchers who offer definitions and theories on concepts such as poverty and food insecurity. The researcher also maps out the developmental path that the Government of Zimbabwe has taken through implementing strategies such as land reform, and how these policies have contributed to the food insecurity crisis. The impacts of the food crisis make citizens such as women and children increasingly vulnerable. They have been severely affected and rely on coping strategies to survive food deprivation. NGOs have stepped in to provide humanitarian assistance. Using a case study approach, ten key informants involved with the two NGOs were interviewed. The research findings are that poverty is multi-faceted and manifests through many interconnected deprivations. As such, food insecurity has become a chronic problem for the vulnerable. The organisations have answered to the food crisis mainly through relief programmes which give people short-term assistance. Rehabilitation strategies through livelihoods and micro-enterprise are medium-term strategies that have been constrained because of the political and economic instability. The two NGOs have not engaged in development-orientated programmes due to the instability in the country and the fact that the long-term development of any country ultimately lies in the hands of its Government. Recommendations are made to the two NGOs under study, to ,the government, as well as for further research.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 107-116).