The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) plans to undertake the 2020 Rural Livelihoods Assessment with the aim of assessing and monitoring food and nutrition security in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. While the full impact of the Corona virus on food and nutrition security is not well known, it is clear that it will have significant negative effects on food and nutrition security. Lessons from previous pandemics or global crises indicate that food and nutrition security could be rapidly and dramatically affected in both rural and urban areas. In light of this, there is need to act quickly and anticipate the collateral effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by gathering up to date data for evidence based polices and programming.
In addition, the assessment also serves to monitor and report towards commitments made within the guiding frameworks of existing national food and nutrition policies and strategies among them the Transitional Stabilisation Plan, the Food and Nutrition Security Policy and the Zero Hunger strategy. In 2020, two important documents will be developed, namely the National Development strategy for the next five years and the Food and Nutrition Security Strategy for the next five years. These need grounded evidence to come up with strong strategies to move the food and nutrition security issues in the development agenda.
Data collection will be undertaken through sub-national (provincial and district) Food and Nutrition Security Committees (FNSCs). Face-to-face interviews will be undertaken at household level with proper and adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) and adherence to social distancing and other hygienic measures as prescribed by standard operating procedures guiding field work. All survey teams will undergo training on how to carry out this assessment during such times and minimizing risks for both the survey teams and the households. Data will be collected from at least 250 households from selected enumeration areas in each of the 60 rural districts in the country. Due diligence will be taken to ensure that enumeration areas where active cluster contamination of COVID-19 has been recorded by the Ministry of Health and Child surveillance team will not be surveyed.
Preparations for the survey are already underway. The survey design, methodology and data collection tools have been developed and standardised through wide multi-stakeholder consultation. Supervisor training has already been done and will be followed up by enumerator training and data collection in July. The process will culminate with report writing and the development of a Response Strategy. The final report is expected to be presented to Cabinet and disseminated to all levels of programming and decision making by the end of July.
Beyond the RLA, The ZimVAC committee will continue monitoring the food and nutrition security situation.