By Nevson Mpofu
Harare–USA Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols said the American Government is ready to have well received and welcome relations with the country. He faced off with sentiments that USA is still bickering nasty relations with Zimbabwe by imposing sanctions. He alluded to a question by a Journalist who asked him how he felt about chief’s sentiments on sanctions. These chiefs confronted the Ambassador in Masvingo 290 kilometres from Harare a week ago.
In his euphonic voice addressing a pack press of Journalists in Harare at his mansion, the Ambassador pointed out, USA is just looking for Human Rights observance, Democracy, Social Justice and rule of Law.
‘’USA wants to see the prevalence rate of Human Rights , Democracy , Social Justice and rule of law in a peaceful country . Leaders must respect the constitution which was contributed to its success by the people.
‘’We want President Emmerson- Mnangagwa to fulfil what he promised to the people of Zimbabwe. What he promised is enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe. Nothing all but the restoration of peace, justice, democracy, social justice, human rights and rule of Law.
‘’How is that possible we sanction where we put our financial effort in the hand of humanitarian aid. Last week we gave US150 million to Zimbabwe to fight HIV and AIDS. Today, we have provided US370, 000 for Community Development projects in 9 provinces. The country must in-fact work towards solving its economic challenges by building regenerated relations.
‘’We are here to reduce poverty, lift up Human Development and cherish the good of our counter-part in the Global Community. USA has done much to the development of the country. We have up to date provided over a billion US dollars towards the development of the country’’.
Ambassador Brian Nichols said these words in Harare a day ago where invited Civil Society Organisations, Grant recipients , Government of Zimbabwe and the media witnessed its provision of US370,00 for Community Development . USA provided US370, 000 in small grants to support community development in 9 provinces.
Ambassador said the funding is towards economic growth and development in communities. He said further that the amount in full goes to those who shall unlock their potential to develop communities. Also these are supposed to improve their economic situation.
‘’Communities in Zimbabwe face several challenges ranging from economic crisis, impasse and depreciation of Human Rights, this later leading to several problems. USA has done this to reduce spread of HIV and AIDS. Many of those who got funding have been helped by PEPFAR Grants for HIV and AIDS.
‘’Seventeen organisations have received funding. These are from Harare, Midlands, Masvingo , Manicaland , Mashonaland east, west , Matebeleland north and Bulawayo .The small Grants funding focusses on supporting small scale , short-term community projects to improve communities .
‘’Communities must remain sustainable, liveable and resilient. Poverty reduction, HIV elimination and developing communities remains crucial. Thus why we have provided funding, looking at orphans, vulnerable ones and mainly for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS’’.
Giving a brief comment one of the Grants recipient Portipher Guta of FACE Zimbabwe said his organisation appreciates the work done since the time PEPFAR in 2006 supported Zimbabwe. The support has gone far in the reduction of HIV and AIDS.
‘’Zimbabwe must now move towards the 95%, 95% , 95% targets . These are of the UNITED NATIONS. They are meant to eliminate poverty, vulnerability and HIV through multi-sectorial interventions. Let us scale up HIV programs. At the same time look at people getting tested, know their status and be on treatment.
Makokoba Mkwananzi of Makokoba HIV and AIDS Trust said the reduction in HIV prevalence rate in the country tells a lot about the work done by USA through USAID and PEPFAR. He talked of Low HIV prevalence rates in urban areas where HIV and AIDS used to demise in population the number of those who succumbed to the health challenge.
‘’Zimbabwe is one of those countries now with low prevalence rate. As a country, we need to honour, cherish and welcome the good work done by the USA Government. He said many interventions, HIV Programs and financially supported projects had over the past decade helped to reduce, eradicate and alleviate the spread.
‘’We thank USAID, PEPFAR and some partners towards this achievement. Above all we have gone far in HIV and AIDS. We celebrate that we no longer have AIDS but HIV.
‘’I mean to say, we have very low AIDS prevalence. HIV, yes, it is there in us. But moving towards total elimination by 2030 is possible battle to fight the scourge, remove its ailments, opportunistic infections and completely achieve those goals. These goals help us reduce poverty, vulnerability and build better liveable and sustainable communities, he said’’
As a country through PEPFAR grants, interventions have worked to success. The areas are in mother to child transmission, sexual reproductive health rights, HIV testing and counselling, adherence and prevention, treatment, care and support. These are areas not to leave behind in bringing an end to all problems we have. Above all and into the future, strategies, policies, frameworks and Laws of the country help in HIV and AIDS battle.
Communities, men, women, young people and youth have come together in a fight of the epidemic. The World with almost 7 billion people, only 40 to 50 million are HIV positive. Though small the figure, the impact is negative and strong. New Infections, though some emerge, with some countries there are reductions and in every drop of it prevention lives.
Since 1980 at Zimbabwe Independence, the Embassy has supported community development projects. These improve basic economic and social conditions across the country. Over the past ten years, US Embassy has awarded more than US2 million for community developments.
The Grant recipients in terms of HIV and AIDS alleviation got more of the total funding. Some organisations are those of the elderly, the vulnerable, Legal Resources foundations, Schools, Trusts and church based ones.
Among the leading from the 17 organisations are FACE Zimbabwe, Citizen Participation Trust, Tariro Trust, Tariro Youth, Makokoba , GOAL Zimbabwe and Local Initiatives Development Agency and the Legal Resources Foundation .