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Results Briefs October 16, 2020

A Call to Action: Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project


Utility workers, downtown Harare, Zimbabwe. 

The Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) delivered quick results that are also sustainable, taking a multi-sector approach based on the existing and surge capacities of partners on the ground. To date, the ZIRP has reached over 200,000 beneficiaries through early and medium-term disaster recovery support, including over 150,000 women.


On 16 March 2019, the eastern parts of Zimbabwe were hit with heavy rains and strong winds as Cyclone Idai made landfall. Cyclone Idai caused flash floods and left in its trail massive destruction of infrastructure and livelihoods, affecting approximately 270,000 people and displacing almost 60,000. It is recorded as the most devastating natural disaster to occur in the country and the extent of damage caused in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts of Zimbabwe was unprecedented. In April 2019, the World Bank and the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) undertook a joint exercise to assess the losses and damages caused by Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe. The outcome of this exercise would form the foundations for a strategy for post Cyclone Idai immediate recovery interventions and longer-term restoration of livelihoods and resilience building.


The ZIRP is a coordinated multi-sector project implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and leveraging the implementation and sector experience of the World Food Program (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This ‘One Project, One Team’ approach facilitates active coordination and planning across organizations and components, providing sustainable solutions by combining interventions across sectors to reduce vulnerability, catalyze recovery of productive assets, food production, and livelihood systems in the Cyclone Idai affected areas.


The Project became effective in July 2019, with the immediate support and early recovery component delivered almost fully within the first year. To date, 239,324 beneficiaries have received food assistance, 54,508 beneficiaries benefited from agricultural inputs and livestock vaccines and services, 19,076 children benefited from rehabilitated community schools and education services, and 5,776 individuals were engaged in employment to rehabilitate community assets. Targeted community rehabilitation interventions in irrigation, water and sanitation services, community roads and risk mitigation infrastructure are in planning stages.

82,160 people benefited from comprehensive health services (including maternal, neonatal, child health as well as community case management for common conditions, like malaria). 223,000 people received COVID-19 preventative and hygiene messaging, with PPE kits delivered to 34 health centers.

239,324 beneficiaries

received early and medium-term disaster recovery support through food assistance, agricultural inputs, rehabilitated community schools, and interventions in irrigation, water and sanitation services.

Bank Group Contribution

The Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project is a four-year $72m grant from the International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window (CRW), granted on an exceptional basis based on Zimbabwe’s arrears with the World Bank. Without the World Bank’s support, there was a significant risk of an escalating humanitarian and development crisis.


Given that no IDA funding can be provided to the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ), due to its non-accrual status, the Project was designed so that funds are disbursed to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), as the Project manager, working with other UN Agencies, including the World Food Program (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to implement the Project. Recently the Project has expanded to include the United Nations Population Fund, to close identified gaps in the Gender-Based Violence referral pathway in two targeted districts as well as enhance project grievance redress mechanisms and reporting protocols.

Moving Forward

The World Bank is providing complementary support to the Government of Zimbabwe to enhance the sustainability of the ZIRP through the State and Peacebuilding Fund and the GFRRP ACP-EU trust funds. The objectives of this support is to enhance government systems and capacity for recovery and strengthen the institutions, systems, and policy-related aspects of government-led disaster risk management in Zimbabwe.


The support we are receiving came at the right time, there was nowhere to turn to. Last year the cyclone, this year a drought coupled with economic challenges. Do you know children were fainting with hunger before they even reached school? Our children are the future, but if the future is collapsing in front then what does the future hold? We are grateful of this food; it goes a long way. -- Chipo Chipiro, program beneficiary.