Indigenous food security revival strategies at the village level: The gender factor implications
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This article is based on an evaluation concerning the practice of the Zunde raMambo concept (commonly referred to as Zunde) in four of Zimbabwe’s 52 districts; (Mangwe, Lupane, Guruve and Hwedza). Zunde is a social security system providing protection against food shortages to vulnerable families and is coordinated by chiefs. The Zunde concept identifies with Ndebele and Shona rural communities in Zimbabwe. Thus, this evaluation sought to determine the relevance and fulfilment of the Zunde project objectives, namely: efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. The revived Zunde practice extends a long way in reducing food insecurity in vulnerable communities. Although the concept may be as old as the Zimbabwean culture, it had been abandoned as communities became urbanised. The Chief’s Council of Zimbabwe, in collaboration with the Nutrition Unit of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare have rekindled it. However, to revive this indigenous knowledge practice, there is need to assess the nature of existing social and economic structures, leadership, gender roles and the availability of resources such as land, inputs and implements. This article, which is based on both qualitative and quantitative data, collected between September 2013 and March 2014, goes on to reflect on policy issues surrounding disaster risk reduction (DRR) and survival strategies used by vulnerable communities in rural areas of Zimbabwe. It recommends that the gender factor approach offers the best means possible to understand peoples’ needs and challenges as well as how these can be satisfied and resolved respectively.