Pride Mahlangu Bulawayo Bureau
THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has facilitated the construction of dams in parts of Matabeleland region under a US$42 million facility aimed at improving food security and enhancing community livelihoods.
The development drive is being run under the “Amalima initiative”, a seven-year programme being implemented by a consortium of non-governmental organisations targeting Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North, and Mangwe, Gwanda and Bulilima districts in Matabeleland South Province.
The programme is focused on promoting climatic and conservation agriculture-sensitive and livestock production practices.
The development partners are working closely with communities to improve their livelihoods through building community resilience to shocks, improved nutrition and health as well as promoting gender equality.
Speaking during celebrations to mark the completion of Lunyimbi Dam construction in Garanyemba, Gwanda, last week, Matabeleland South provincial administrator Ms Sithandiwe Ncube,said the construction was a milestone achievement.
She said the dam would play a significant role in ensuring improvement in subsistence farming and livestock production.
“As Gwanda district we depend much on livestock production and subsistence farming. This dam will assist us in providing water for livestock and also for agricultural activities,” she said.
“It will improve and sustain the livelihoods of the communities and providing water to livestock . . . if livestock get water, its means that their health is enhanced and therefore it will fetch better prices when we sell.”
Ms Ncube urged villagers to safeguard the dam and utilise it by carrying out bankable agricultural projects to benefit the community.
She called for more partners, Diaspora business community and other developmental players to come forward with investment ideas, innovations and financial resources to improve people’s lives in Matabeleland South.
Lunyimbi Dam was built within 60 days by the villagers in Garanyemba.
The project was facilitated and managed by Amalima.
More dams including the new Mbuyana Dam were being built under the project in Gwanda District.
Amalima chief of party Mr David Brigham said his organisation had built almost 100 community assets adding that they were impressed with the Lunyimbi community’s enthusiasm in building their dam.
“We have built many community assets over the past five years, and this is our last winter and it’s the last season of building these assets. So, for me this is not a celebration of Lunyimbi Dam but the combination of lots of years,” he said.
Garanyemba villagers expressed joy and plans to turn under-utilised land into irrigation if water is available to allow project such as fish farming.
The Amalima programme started in 2013 and over the years, the initiative has rehabilitated and constructed new dip tanks and dams.
As a result of the initiative, irrigation schemes in Matabeleland South have also been established and rehabilitated in addition to the training of more than 30 000 people from various districts in the province on livestock management.