Zimbabwe was already a recognized centre for research and higher education when we began supporting research there in 1981. Deteriorating economic and political conditions, along with a mass exodus of researchers and academics, made it more challenging to work in Zimbabwe. 

Much of our efforts are now aimed at preserving research capacity inside the country. Our areas of focus have included forestry and tree crops, public health challenges such as malaria and AIDS, agricultural technology, and communal land and wildlife management.

Since the unity government in 2009, we’ve supported a national dialogue on post-crisis reconstruction and development. Our funds enabled researchers to conduct a poverty survey to determine areas of most need. Discussions with key decision-makers have helped bring the benefits of economic growth to Zimbabwe’s poorest populations.

Food security, nutrition, and health 

Early research strengthened access to quality food by developing ways to produce and process indigenous vegetables, helping raise awareness of their nutritional value. Working with IDRC-supported researchers, local farmers produced enough vegetable seeds to sell to local seed companies. 

Fairness in health

Ongoing support for research on health systems is having an impact in Zimbabwe. The Regional Network on Equity in Health in East and Southern Africa has been working since 1999 to reduce unnecessary and unfair differences in peoples’ health status. For example, it helped Southern African nations measure the need for health services in order to allocate public resources to those most in need. In 2011, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Welfare adopted some of these measuring tools. 

Our funding has also enabled UNICEF and the ministries of health in Zimbabwe and Kenya to institute maternal death reviews in each country. Information on pregnancy-related deaths has led authorities to improve the quality of health services for expectant and new mothers.

Total IDRC Support

109 research activities worth CA$18.5 million since 1981

ICRISAT/S.Sridharan

Our support is helping

  • promote sound policies for poverty recovery and growth 
  • coordinate research on women’s participation in micro- and small-businesses 
  • explore more sustainable, universal, and equitable health financing as a first step toward universal health coverage in Zimbabwe
  • raise the profile of migrant entrepreneurs and the growth of informal cities
  • investigate post-harvest solutions to reduce contamination in grain
  • strengthen evidence-based policy research and advocacy for Africa’s green revolution 

Projects