Durable Solutions: Visible and Invisible Successes in Zimbabwe

IOM Revolving Livestock Scheme. A mother and child stand outside of a hut housing goats provided to them under the Revolving Livestock Project, Zimbabwe. © IOM/Will Van Engen 2009

By Rangarirayi Tigere

Despite displacement being a highly politicised topic in Zimbabwe, IOM’s Community Based Planning (CBM) approach to displacement has been an unprecedented success. Here are some of the reasons for that success.

Unlike much of Africa where civil wars and natural disasters have resulted in major population displacements, internal displacement in Zimbabwe has been primarily caused by the Government’s accelerated land reform programme which began in the year 2000, followed by natural disasters, urban evictions and political violence. The consequence: hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, disadvantaged in their access to livelihoods and services, their poor standards of living and their exclusion from civic life.

In 2009, IOM Zimbabwe’s humanitarian response programming was revitalised, adopting a development approach to working with the Government and communities affected by displacement. The list of community-identified priorities is always long: clean water, quality healthcare, better accessibility, improved yields... Once agreed, the community-level plans and priorities are “marketed” to potential partners including relevant UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector to enlist wide engagement. The local government commits to providing long term technical support, and communities identify and mobilise their own resources.

Despite the political sensitivities around displacement, one key success of the approach is the application of the pre-existing ‘District and Provincial Planning Act’ (1984), which provides that administrative units should undertake development planning. Thus, mobile and vulnerable populations are legitimately included into the IOM–implemented, government-supported, recovery programmes; addressing marginalization while avoiding politicization.

Noteworthy achievements include improved access to health and education and new homes for internally displaced persons. A few examples:

  • Over 16,000 people in Makoni district have improved access to health care at the two new clinics;
  • 750 vulnerable households in Chipinge, Khami  and Mhondoro-Ngezi have been resettled and live in their new homes and
  • More than 850 students in Khami, Mount Darwin and Vungu districts attend two newly constructed secondary schools.

These are just a few of the tangible highlights. Less visible are the more subtle successes; the government-community partnerships that have been built and the communities that can now work together to find their own solutions.

This is one of the many examples of innovative approaches to ending displacement IOM has developed around the world. For more information on IOM Zimbabwe´s Community Based Planning approach, read more here. For more information on the Durable Solutions component of the PHA, or to share your own good practice, please access the Intranet Platform here.

To find out more information about IOM's work on progressive resolution of displacement situations, please visit: http://www.iom.int/progressive-resolution-displacement-situations

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Rangarirayi Tigere is a Monitoring and Evaluation and Training Coordinator in IOM Zimbabwe