Zimbabwe, Africa

ZIM02 - Fountain of Hope - Peniel Children's Home: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: April 15, 2020

Report from Fountain of Hope in Regard to the Effects of Coronavirus on their Projects 

The Zimbabwean President declared a national lockdown a week ago (2nd April) to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the nation. This was announced after one person succumbed to the pandemic leaving 8 other people infected. Zimbabwe has got 9 confirmed cases and people who were tested in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Mat south province are waiting for their results to come back from Harare. The whole nation has got only one testing centre which is in Harare the capital hence such measures were taken for a lockdown, to minimise the number of people to be infected. The decision though good is hurting the economy already struggling with a 2 year drought, shortages of foreign currency and a staggering unemployment rate of over 90%. We are now in the second week of the lockdown and queues at different shops are the order of the day, people queuing for mealie meal. 

The rural people do not have enough information concerning Coronavirus and so our team has been and is still taking vital information to the rural people of Makamure, Mtshazo, Mthombothemba, Mandiva and Chirogwe. Our team was given a green light by the government of Zimbabwe to work alongside the Ministry of Health in information dissemination. Some of the members of our team are therefore free to move from Bulawayo to all the communities that we work with to take vital information and to help people understand why they have to follow the precautions laid out by the government of Zimbabwe. 


Effects of Lockdown on Projects

Sustainable Agriculture Projects

Foundations for Farming
doing wellThis is one of the ways of breaking the cycle of poverty in rural areas especially those areas in region 5 of Zimbabwe which receive very little rainfall each year. Zimbabwe has been going for 2 years now experiencing drought and the communities that we work in are the ones which were hardest hit by the drought. This season we introduced small grains in addition to maize which is the staple food in Zimbabwe. Sorghum and groundnuts did very well in Makamure and Chirogwe communities but didn’t do well in Mtshazo area which received below 30mm of rainfall this past season. 

The Coronavirus challenge has affected our farmers in all the communities that we work in, in that no more training and evaluation of the program is going to be done during this moment since large gatherings have been forbidden. Farmers are not able to learn from one another and this has put a dent to the program. 

Fountain of Hope is working on coming up with new ways of teaching farmers without necessarily meeting with a group of farmers for the lessons. We are working on coming up with booklets written in vernacular languages which will be distributed to each family to read and learn on their own as a family. Our Agriculture Officer will follow up on these families since he was given the green light by the government of Zimbabwe to do so. Lessons and trainings are going to be done per family. This however poses a challenge to Fountain of Hope which does not have large printers to print the material for farmers and this leaves the Agriculture Officer at risk of being infected with COVID-19 since he will have to move from village to village. Protective clothing for the Agriculture Officer and the other community members that he works with is very much needed. 

Nutrition Gardens 
providing food securityThe gardens were and are being established to improve food security amongst poor communities of Zimbabwe. The gardens have been the source of income for hundreds of people who are part of these gardens and many children have been in schools because of the gardens. Thank you so much Bright Hope World for giving communities the opportunity to run these self-sustainable projects. Many young people have been getting horticulture and farming skills through these gardens and some of them are already establishing their own small backyard gardens. The gardens that we establish in these communities get water mainly from the solar powered boreholes that were drilled in the communities. 

We thank God that the gardens are not very much affected by the Coronavirus calamity, the only challenge is that people are no more allowed to meet in large numbers as they used to. They now go to the garden in small groups of 4 and 5 and this becomes a big challenge for the bigger gardens like the Makamure/Madzivire (ZIM02c) garden that has got more than 120 members. Our Agriculture Officer is working flat out to ensure that the people remain effective in the gardens. Information concerning the spread and how to prevent Coronavirus is therefore being passed on to the five people who will be in the garden at that particular time. The other challenge is that since there is the shortage of food items in shops and people are not working, the gardens are now the latest targets of thieves and robbers. People come from towns to steal from the gardens in the rural areas.  


Borehole Projects (Access to clean and safe drinking water)

grateful for waterThe communities that we work in are in the driest region of Zimbabwe, where water is really very scarce and finding a working borehole is like finding a gold mine. Some people walk very long distances like 10km to get water and this strains mostly women and children since it is their daily responsibility to fetch water for the entire family. Due to the drought that Zimbabwe has experienced for the past 2 years it is not only the rural population that is going through the challenge of not having enough water or not having water at all but even those in towns and cities like Bulawayo. Some suburbs in Bulawayo are going to go for 6 to 8 months without water because dams are dry and the only reliable sources that can be there are boreholes. 

During this time of Coronavirus, water is very important especially to people who cannot afford sanitizers since hands have to be washed constantly. We thank God for the water source that has been provided for the people of Mtshazo (ZIM02g), a place where water is like diamonds, through Bright Hope World. The people of this community have got water for drinking purposes as well as for productive projects. We have seen more villages and schools coming to us asking for assistance in the provision of water for drinking and productive purposes. 

Water is one of the challenges in towns and villages especially towns and villages in region 5 of Zimbabwe and we are one of the organisations that is trying our best to ensure that people have got water in their communities. Coronavirus has made people to realise the need for more water sources in the region.  


Transformation Centres

greatly impactedThese are some of our projects that are very much affected by the COVID-19 challenge as we now are having more children who are in need of food assistance. The worst area to be affected is Mthombothemba (ZIM02a) and this is because of its proximity to town. Many street children who used to get food from well-wishers in town are no longer getting such help and the only place where they can be assisted is at the Transformation Centre. Our Transformation Centres are therefore unable to cope with the number of children and young people who are in need of food assistance. Our team is working on starting just a feeding program for town street children and adults who were affected by COVID-19, otherwise we may see many people dying not of the virus but of hunger. 

Another effect of COVID-19 on our Transformation Centres is that the children are now out of school due to the pandemic. Those who are going to write exams are affected since teachers are not teaching them, it is only those who have access to internet who can study at home. This challenge sadly will make the rich move on with life while the children of the poor remain behind. 

We are therefore working with schools during this time to help in the provision of internet services to children from poor backgrounds so that they too may be able to study like any other children from the society. 


Peniel Centre

not going to schoolJust like the Transformation Centres, the Peniel Centre children are not going to school because of the lockdown which will last for 21 days with the possibility of being extended. If it is extended it means our Peniel children would not be able to go to school for a long time and this will have a negative impact on their education. Getting private tutors is not an option as we do not know who is infected or not, so we are not going to get outsiders to come and spend time with our children in whatever capacity. We do this to protect our precious children.  


Our Response to COVID-19

Provision of medical support to the elderly in the communities 

Fountain of Hope is going to work with Community Based Health Workers in collecting their medication from hospitals and pharmacies. There are so many old people with chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension etc. who will not be able to travel to the nearest town to buy the medical supplies or to collect from either hospitals or clinic. Fountain of Hope staff members, since they have a green light to travel from one village into town, will take people’s medical cards into town to collect the needed medical drugs for the people. This is one of the ways that we are going to see that people remain in good health. We already have 37 people with chronic diseases that we are helping. 

Our team will be going to town to collect medical supplies for the sick in the communities. We believe so much that a healthy community is a developing community. 


Provision of food assistance to street children and street adults 

Fountain of Hope is working on cooking lunches for the street and adult people who are affected by the lockdown in Zimbabwe. Food packs are going to be prepared for the extra young people and children who have joined Transformation Centres in need of food especially at Mthombothemba where the number has increased to over a 100. 


COVID-19 information dissemination 

Fountain of Hope is gathering and disseminating information to people in the rural areas concerning COVID-19. People in the rural areas do not have radios or TVs and are not on other social media so information takes a long time to reach them and sometimes it does not reach them at all. We are trying our best to bridge the gap as Fountain of Hope to ensure that the people get important and relevant information so that they may make informed decisions. We are disseminating information in our gardens, schools, at Transformation Centres, local clinics and at the local community meetings. Lessons are also given to people on how to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.


Online education 

Fountain of Hope is going to work with schools as from Friday 10th April on how best to serve children from poor backgrounds in accessing internet for education purposes. We will work with the Ministry of Education in establishing internet connectivity at one of the schools in Makamure area. This is going to be our pilot project to see how it’s going to work. Children from the community would come in small groups to access internet and be able to engage in e-learning at the school. This is going to go a long way in improving the quality of life in the community as the children would be able to use the modern ways of learning.  



Thank you so so much Bright Hope World for partnering with us in bringing hope to the hopeless. Your support is going a long way in improving the quality of life in these communities not just now during this lockdown but all the time that we have been serving in the communities. 



Gideon & Jennifer Chishamba