Reflecting on Early 21st Century Sustainable Livelihood Projects towards Enhancing Food Security and Resilience in Zimbabwe

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Applied Science (IJRIAS) | Volume VI, Issue X, October 2021|ISSN 2454-6194

Reflecting on Early 21st Century Sustainable Livelihood Projects towards Enhancing Food Security and Resilience in Zimbabwe

Sifelani Ngwenya

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: – Food insecurity (FS) levels are escalating despite heavy investment in food security projects by governments and their complementing partners. This scenario undermines the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving Zero Hunger by the year 2030. This paper assesses the influence of projects implemented between 2000 and 2020 on food security and resilience in Zimbabwe’s agro-ecological regions IV and V. The study interrogated the participants’ perceptions and experiences, nature, and purpose, and impact (positive and negative) of implemented projects in the four districts of Zimbabwe. A qualitative research methodology was employed, and data was collected using interview questionnaires, observations, and focus group discussions. Agricultural extension officers, chiefs, councillors, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) officers, headmasters, Non-Governmental Organizations, Chief Executive Officers of Rural District Councils were part of the study sample. The selection of the sample was based on: expertise, experience, coordination, and involvement programs for more than two years, and proximity to communities. Main findings show that various forms of projects of varying magnitudes and effects have been implemented to build resilience, ensure FS, and socio-economically empower communities. However, most of these initiatives have failed to achieve their intended goals due to various factors. For example, lack of community buy-in, stakeholder exclusion, targeting inconsistencies, negative perception of the project, stakeholder commitment, and lack of knowledge development drive. In conclusion, this paper stresses the potential benefits of knowledge development, all-stakeholder commitment, and involvement in sustainable livelihoods projects in Zimbabwe.

Keywords: Early 21st century, Sustainable, Livelihood projects, Food security, and Resilience.


Scores of sustainable livelihood (SL) projects aimed towards enhancing Food Security (FS) and resilience has been implemented in Zimbabwe. Despite this effort, food insecurity challenges continue to escalate in an unprecedented manner. In Zimbabwe, an estimated 5.5 million rural Zimbabweans faced food insecurity during the peak of the 2019/20 lean season, with 3.8 million people in need of food assistance (Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee [ZimVAC], 2019). A sum of US$86.9 million was contributed towards mitigating acute food insecurity between October 2019 and March 2020 (United States Agency for International Development [USAID], 2021).