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Ireland’s development programme in Zimbabwe is focused on supporting organisations working at grass roots level to address the needs of the most vulnerable people and communities affected by HIV and AIDS. 

Two participants during the circle gardening workshop measuring the circumference of the circle gardens they want to dig. Photo: Souls Comfort

  • Overview
  • Background
  • Our Work
  • Results


Ireland and Zimbabwe

Ireland’s programme in Zimbabwe is managed by our embassy in Pretoria (South Africa) and we target our support at the most vulnerable people and communities through partnerships with multilateral and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Our programme focuses on improving state and community services to support those people living with HIV (PLHIV), strengthening the national health service and supporting job creation in agri-business.

One of the caregivers receiving a bicycle for community home based care program


After decades of economic growth and flourishing development throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Zimbabwe’s progress took a turn for the worse.  In recent years, the situation has continued to deteriorate, with a crumbling political, social and economic environment.

Chronic poverty, political instability, HIV and Aids, repeated food crises, poor harvests and the demise of formal and informal employment opportunities continue to impact adversely on livelihoods and increase levels of vulnerability.

Zimbabwe has significant, continuing humanitarian and development needs.  Essential services such as health, education, water and sanitation are hugely lacking.  International donor support is predominantly geared towards enhancing local services and is primarily disbursed through NGOs.

The challenge of HIV and AIDS

Zimbabwe continues to be one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa most severely affected by HIV and AIDS. The country’s socio-economic decline was accompanied by a rise in HIV and AIDS prevalence and a marked reduction in the provision of social services needed to lessen the negative impact of the epidemic.

The rise in poverty, inequality and social exclusion that has marked the recent history of Zimbabwe has ensured that those most affected by HIV and AIDS are usually the most vulnerable, i.e., women, children. 

Thanks to prevention programmes and the roll out of treatment, the rate of new infections has decreased and the overall HIV prevalence rate has come down to 14.7% in 2012, from a high of over 26% in 2001.


Our Work

Irish Aid has provided development cooperation to Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980

From 2017-2019, Irish Aid will provide approximately €3.6 million per annum under the South Africa Country Strategy 2017-2021. During the final two years of the strategy – 2020 and 2021 - it is envisaged that the programme budget will increase to approximately €5million annually. The programme is managed from Ireland's Embassy in Pretoria, supported by a dedicated team located in Zimbabwe's capital city of Harare.

Healthcare for children and mothers

Our programme in Zimbabwe contributes to improving maternal and child health care by working with UNICEF to channel much needed resources to isolated district health care facilities. Irish funding also strengthens the capacity of civil society organisations to promote respect for human rights and address gender based violence.


Some key results achieved with Ireland's contribution in 2017 include:

  • 21,687 children were treated for malnutrition across Zimbabwe's poorest districts.
  • 303,111 pregnant women at risk of complicated delivery were identified and referred to relevant health facilities.
  • 4,984,647 people reached with health promotion messages.
  • Civil Society Organisations in Zimbabwe addressed 22,500 cases of human rights abuses.

Further detail on the Irish Aid programme in Zimbabwe is available in the Ireland's Strategy on South Africa and the Southern Africa sub-region 2017-2021.

Ireland’s Development Assistance Annual Reports detail the many results delivered through Ireland’s aid programme, across our partner countries, including Zimbabwe. They include key policy developments and details of Ireland’s overseas development aid across the world.