FOOD SHORTAGES AND COVID-19 AMONG THE ELDERLY
Financial assistance (USD10, 000.00) to support older persons
Support for Older Persons and Vulnerable Groups in Zimbabwe
Project Title: Older Persons and Vulnerable Groups Programme
Name of Applicant: Stella Chipo Takaza
Title: Social Worker
Address: Garainesu SJI, 20 Dove Crescent, Vainona
Conduct Person: Stella Takaza
MOBILE 1: +263 4 712 756 211
Mobile 2: +263 778 404 108
Period of Implementation: 30 May 2021 to May 2023
SPECIFIC PURPOSE FOR WHICH FUNDS are BEING SOUGHT
Urgent financial assistance in the amount of USD10, 000 are being sought to support older persons and vulnerable groups in difficult circumstances with their basic needs. By now, a significant number of older persons with children under their care are affected by severe droughts, high cost of living as well as COVID-19 pandemics which have a direct impact on their lives. The older persons are being regarded as the poorest of the poor and are often marginalized in terms of food security and health matters. It is against this background that financial assistance is needed to implement this project targeting older persons. The project has been initiated following research that was conducted on “Survival Skills used by Rural Elderly Matrifocal Families for Coping with Food Shortages in Zimbabwe; The case of Chirumanzu, Zivagwe and Shurugwi Districts in the Midlands Province”. The study came up with some recommendations which seek for comprehensive interventions and sustainable that could be used to out scale and throw life to the elderly.
Thirteen years into the 21st millennium, Zimbabwe continues to experience serious food shortage and COVID-19 pandemic challenges. Environmentally, a significant number of older persons above the age 60 years are increasing against the background of the current environmental, economic and social instability. The environmental conditions prevailing specifically in the Southern Africa region, predominantly in the rural districts of Zimbabwe are affecting older people who find it difficult to gain meaningful lifeline for them to survive. Socially, the serious challenge is the breaking away of families such that the older persons are left struggling on their own. This ultimately affects the older generation at the age when they are supposed to receive care. Economically, the cost of living is very high such that those who have no pensions to fall back on cannot afford even a meal per day. The majority find it difficult to support themselves in terms of their basic needs which have a direct impact on their dietary food intake, nutrition and physical well-being. In most cases, they succumb to ill health whilst others succumb to possible early death. Recent studies conducted show that the majority of older people are typically one of the poorest groups of society in the wake against the covid-19 pandemic.
By now, however, the major challenge is to provide adequate and balanced diet to sustain their health and physical well-being of the older persons especially. This is because the means to survive are reduced as competition with younger and more active age groups for food resources gets tougher. The older persons find it difficult to immediately reach sufficient food which is rich in protein and other nutrients to maintain good health and active life. In many circumstances, their source of livelihoods is unknown and they easily succumb to serious diverse food intake problems. This in the long run leads to serious changes in their lifestyle and possible early deaths. It is against this background that as a social worker I am putting this proposal forward for support to older persons living under otherwise food shortage and COVID-19 pandemic conditions in Chirumanzu, Zivagwe and Shurugwi Districts in the Midlands Province.
2. THE PROBLEM
In Zimbabwe, the incidences of food insecurity and coronavirus among older persons have increased drastically; predominantly in the subsistent communal areas. Most of older persons who are experiencing moderate to severe hunger are characterized by loss of income, poor health, depreciated asset base and poor physiological, all succumbing to ill health and possible early deaths. These are often marginalised and discriminated against especially in remote areas. In reality, the majority of older persons find it difficult to hear, walk, eat properly and experience several challenges which block off opportunities for them to escape. In most cases, their physical well-being is undermined such that they succumb to ill health and possible early deaths. Currently, the national social welfare systems for older persons against the backdrop of their immediate desired needs are weak and are often totally lacking. This scenario undermines food accessibility and proper dietary food intake of quality and acceptable standards among older persons. Thus funds are needed to address the food shortage and COVID-19 education for interventions urgently.
3. Aim of the project
The general aim of this project is to improve the health and nutrition of older persons for their physical well-being in Chirumanzu District which is in Zimbabwe.
1. Investigate the number of older persons above the age of 60 years.
2. Determine dietary food intake patterns of older persons
3. Explore food security and COVID-19 challenges faced by the elderly for nutrition and physical well-being.
4. Determine comprehensive preventive and adaptation interventions for the elderly
In addressing the food insecurity and COVID-19 pandemic issues, several innovative programs are often implemented without a clear foresight of the undernutrition situation and health of older persons. This standing problem contributes to poor dietary food intake and reduced physical well-being of older persons who are more vulnerable, marginalised than others. Sadly, if food shortage severity and COVID-19prevention among older persons are not seriously prioritised to reduce the risk of ill health and possible early deaths, otherwise the number of older persons who are food insecure and vulnerable to COVID-19 which increase early death rates will remain unacceptably high. This present appeal is therefore seeking financial assistance to support older persons in the areas of food insecurity and COVID-19 pandemics in particular. The project is significant because it will help to improve the nutrition and physical well-being of older persons who are often discriminated against their food security and health entitlements otherwise. The project would be implemented in Chirumanzu; Zivagwe and Shurugwi districts in the Midlands Province which my study found have the highest number of older persons experiencing food shortages due to cyclical droughts and high cost of living.
6. PROJECT MANAGEMENT
A study was conducted concurrently with a PhD study by the candidate and her research team from 2016 to 2020. The Principal Consultant/Researcher was a PhD candidate who also holds a Master of Social Work (MSW), BSc Honours, Diploma in Social Work (DSW), and Certificate in Research Methods (CRM) from the University of Zimbabwe. The social worker has just completed a PhD and research assistants are holding BSc Honours degrees in Social Work. The area of study the PhD study was entitled;
“Survival Skills used by Rural Elderly Matrifocal Families for Coping with Food Shortages in Zimbabwe; The case of Chirumanzu, Zivagwe and Shurugwi Districts in the Midlands Province”
The permission to implement the project was sought from the responsible authorities across the study area. The researchers conducted their research within the community whilst identifying older persons in need of urgent assistance using a snowballing method. The strategy was appropriate as it seeks to respond to the needs of the older persons in their natural environment which they are used to and thus contrary to supporting them in an institution which is the last resort. The approach is preferred because it is quick and cost-effective. It is expected that the project described above would be completed within a period of three years after which the older persons would have been fully supported and their needs met equitably. The project is scheduled to run until 2023 which will give ample time to evaluate the impact of the project and recommend further possible interventions and sustainable strategies that could be used to throw a lifeline for older persons.
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What we need help with
Financial Support for Older Persons and Vulnerable Groups in Zimbabwe
Best way to get in touch
E-mail/Mobile phone 00 263 422 779404108
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