The humanitarian situation in the country has been exacerbated by the crisis following the June 2008 presidential elections, as well as the on-going constitutional referendum process and build-up to a general election.
In response, IOM Zimbabwe is implementing various projects to support migration-affected communities to manage the resulting migration challenges. The interventions can be largely divided into the following thematic areas: emergency and humanitarian assistance, (re)integration and/or resettlement assistance, migration health, counter-trafficking, and migration management policy framework. IOM operates in all 10 provinces through partnerships with over 25 implementing partners and a staff of 134, including 15 international staff.
IOM Zimbabwe has enhanced its cooperation and partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe both at national and local levels throughout the country. These good relationships have contributed significantly to providing assistance in a timely and effective manner.
IOM works in conjunction with the UN Country Team (UNCT) and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). IOM also participates in the development of Emergency Response Plans which seek to identify and prioritize needs, and ensure a coordinated response in emergency situations. In addition, IOM participates in the development of the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), a strategic planning instrument formulated by the UNCT and the Government of Zimbabwe to identify and plan for national development priorities.
Movement, Emergency and Post-crisis Migration Management
IOM, through its implementing partners, facilitates and coordinates targeted assistance to mobile and vulnerable populations and communities affected by internal displacements. Assistance includes, inter alia, responding to humanitarian needs such as non-food items, shelter, food, livelihoods, health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). While maintaining operational response capacity on the ground, increasingly, IOM’s activities focus on facilitating long-term, holistic solutions for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host communities, such as advocacy on land allocation and local institutional capacity building, using Community-based Planning to achieve this goal.
As a lead agency for the IDP sub-cluster Livelihoods, Institutional Capacity and Infrastructure (LICI) as well as multi-sector Cross-border, IOM plays an important coordination role among humanitarian communities in Zimbabwe.
In an effort to address the needs of returned migrants and mobile populations, IOM maintains Reception and Support Centres at the border posts of Beitbridge and Plumtree which, since opening in May 2006 and April 2008 respectively, have provided food and transportation assistance, basic health care and a referral service for further treatment, information distribution for returned migrants, as well as training to immigration officials and relevant local authorities on such issues as trafficking in persons, migrants’ rights and irregular migration.
Comprehensive Humanitarian Emergency Assistance, Early Recovery and Livelihoods of Internally Displaced People and other vulnerable populations affected by displacement
Humanitarian Assistance to Returned Migrants and Mobile Populations at the South Africa- Zimbabwe and Botswana-Zimbabwe borders at Beitbridge and Plumtree respectively
The strategy of the Migration Health Unit in Zimbabwe aims at improving the standards of physical, mental and social well-being of migrants and internally displaced-affected communities by responding to the emergency and early recovery health and WASH needs throughout all phases of the migration process. Interventions are divided into three main programmatic areas: (1) responding to emergency needs of crisis affected populations; (2) shifting support towards durable solutions for displacement affected communities transitioning to early recovery; and (3) improving the management of migration health to decrease vulnerability to diseases of public health concern with particular focus on HIV.
Additionally, IOM is working with its partners to mainstream HIV/AIDS and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) awareness, while creating linkages to prevention, care and treatment services through local service providers and NGO partners.
Increasing access to health services amongst hard to reach displacement-affected, unplanned or newly resettled communities through mobile outreach services and health system strengthening
Strengthening health promotion through established network of community-based volunteers trained in participatory health and hygiene education.
Providing health assessments and support for returning migrants through the IOM Reception and Support Centers to determine fitness to travel, as well as identify and manage conditions of public health concern including screening for communicable disease such as TB
Improving infrastructure and community based management of water and sanitation facilities for displacement affected, mobile and vulnerable communities and border areas
Migration and Development
Due to large-scale out-migration, Zimbabwe has seen an accelerated emigration of professionals primarily to neighbouring countries such as South Africa but also to the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. IOM approaches the linkages between migration and development from the perspective that migration, if properly managed, can contribute to the growth and prosperity of both countries of origin and destination, as well as benefit migrants themselves. IOM, therefore, aims at harnessing the development potential of migration for the benefit of concerned governments, individual migrants and society at large.
Programme activities in this area include strengthening the capacity of the Government of Zimbabwe to effectively manage migration for national development and to implement specific interventions that promote the involvement of migrant populations in development processes in Zimbabwe, and facilitating the return and reintegration of qualified nationals in the diaspora.
Migration Management and Diaspora Policy Formulation (currently under review by the Cabinet)
Establishment of a Migration and Development Unit (MDU) in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion for the purpose of spearheading the national migration and development agenda for Zimbabwe
Sequenced return of 71 skilled medical and medical training professionals in the diaspora in the UK, US, South Africa etc., as well as capacity building of medical training institutions
The Human Capital Website: The website provides information on jobs and investment opportunities that abound in Zimbabwe to Zimbabweans in the diaspora
Reintegration of Returned Migrants: over 600 households had benefited from a revolving livestock schemed aimed at reducing irregular migration due to lack of livelihoods opportunities and facilitating the reintegration of returned migrants
Strengthening the Knowledge-base for Evidence-based Policy Formulation (Research)
IOM continues to assist with the voluntary return and reintegration of Zimbabweans from the United Kingdom and other host countries, helping returnees to establish small businesses and engage in educational or vocational training.
With increasing migration movements in the region, including significant irregular migration, and elements of human trafficking and smuggling, the improvement of border management system has become a high priority. In 2010, IOM provided assistance to install computer-based data management system at main border posts in Zimbabwe; including Victoria Falls, Beitbridge border posts and Harare international airport.
Since 2006, IOM provides assistance to victims of trafficking and undertakes the capacity-building of law enforcement and social service providers on trafficking in persons. A counter-trafficking information awareness campaign and a hotline service are currently being implemented in Zimbabwe.
A 2004 study by IOM in Beitbridge showed that, on average, 48 Zimbabwean returned migrants died monthly as a result of a lack of support and other health hazards at the border town. To counter this, the Reception and Support Centre for returnees was established, and an information campaign was launched. The Safe Journey campaign aims to inform all mobile populations and potential migrants in Zimbabwe on how to migrate legally and the risks of failing to do so, e.g., they may face exploitation, physical abuse, rape and HIV/AIDS.
IOM in close coordination with the National AIDS Council, UNFPA and UNAIDS has also conducted a study on HIV and AIDS policies and interventions targeting female sex workers in Zimbabwe. The study mapped the settings and patterns of female sex work, including a situation and response analysis of HIV and AIDS interventions targeting female sex workers in Zimbabwe.
Another research activity on child trafficking within and from Zimbabwe is currently being concluded with the Government, in order to better tailor/target activities during the future programming, as well as to inform evidence-based policy development process.
In addition, IOM Zimbabwe developed and launched a series of publications related to Migration and Development, which are listed below and available through the IOM Zimbabwe website.
The Migration in Zimbabwe – A Country Migration Profile (2009)
The Zimbabwe Health Workers’ Profile Survey
The Flow, Impact and Regulatory Framework of Migrant Labour Remittances in Zimbabwe
Guidelines for Mainstreaming Migration in National Development
Migration, Climate Change and Environmental Degradation
Devastating Rains met with Humanitarian Assistance. In Zimbabwe, heavy rains fell from mid-December 2007 through January 2008 causing serious damage to the eastern and north eastern border communities. Households who were dependent on monthly food aid from the World Food Programme saw their food stocks destroyed and had to rely on other households who had managed to salvage their own stocks.
There was also an increase in diseases, ranging from malaria, diarrhea and skin diseases due to bad sanitation and stagnant water. This was compounded by people's inability to seek medical assistance as bridges were washed away, clinics too distant and access to many of the communities was simply not possible due to flooding. As people had lost all their possessions and had no where to go, they were forced to create makeshift homes whilst waiting for the floods to subside. During the floods, UN OCHA facilitated a coordinated response among UN agencies, IOM, NGOs and the Government. IOM assisted about 4,000 households by distributing tarpaulins, blankets, mosquito nets, aquatabs and non-food item packs, as well as drugs and condoms.
Following this emergency the Zimbabwe Civil Protection Unit began workshops on risk reduction for flooding preparedness and other hazards. As part of this initiative, IOM provides ongoing training on HIV and AIDS and gender-based violence in preparedness planning and emergency settings.
Main text: March 2011
Facts and figures: February 2016