Building Climate Resilient Rural Communities in Zimbabwe


Climate change is projected to have profound impacts on Zimbabwe, including heightened water stress, increased incidence of drought, declines in crop and livestock productivity, change in wildlife ranges, an increase in wildfire incidents and the possible expansion of malaria zones. 

With support from UNDP and funding from the Global Environment Facility’s Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), the Government of Zimbabwe is working with communities to address climate change and build resilience to these impacts. The project, Building Climate Resilient Rural Communities in Zimbabwe, is working to reduce the vulnerability of rural communities by developing plans and guidance documents for local governments for mainstreaming and planning for climate change adaptation.

Mainstreaming climate change means incorporating climate risks into all development decisions and development planning. When climate risk is explicitly considered and incorporated into policies, plans and practice, development efforts are more resilient to climate uncertainty, and more likely to reach their objectives.

Project details

Climate change scenarios show the country warming by up to 3.5⁰C and rainfall declining by up to 30% in the southern semi-arid regions of the country, in Agroecological Regions IV and V.  In its Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC has concluded that there is a 90 per cent probability that the extent of drought-affected areas in southern Africa will increase. Zimbabwe’s Second National Communication (MENRM, 2012) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) confirms that Zimbabwe’s temperature has warmed by about 0.6⁰C between 1900 and 2010 and rainfall patterns have undergone significant modifications.

Changes in precipitation and higher temperatures, coupled with land degradation, poor access to technologies, infrastructure and institutions poorly aligned to deal with climate change will lead to reductions in crop yields, livestock productivity and an increase in poverty. IFPRI predicts that unless action action is taken now to make sure that water facilitates rather than constrain economic development and food security, Zimbabwe will experience severe drought and water constraints by 2050. The Zimbabwe Medium Term Plan (2011-2015) reports that maize yields averaged 1-1.4 tons/ha between 1980 and 1990, dropping to 0.7 tons/ha during 2010/11 partly because of increased inter-annual variability in precipitation. In recent years, farmers in southeast Zimbabwe have been getting a good cereal harvest only once in 5-6 years.  Vulnerability drivers identified include: heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resources, poverty, increasing frequency of drought, population pressure, poor climate risk management services from local authorities and local public service institutions, and limited national level policy support.

An estimated 1.3 million smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe, 70% of these being women, frequently face poverty and hunger (MEPIP, 2012). During the period 2000-2007, Zimbabwe’s real GDP has declined by a cumulative 36%, the agriculture sector has declined by an annual average of 2.4%, and the population below the Food Poverty Line increased from 29% in 1995 to 58% in 2003 (MEPIP, 2011) with most of these being in semi-arid regions of the country and 68% being women headed households.

Thematic areas: 
Level of intervention: 
Key collaborators: 
Primary beneficiaries: 
Rural communities in the Southeast Lowveld of Zimbabwe
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations: 
Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Zimbabwe
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project status: 
Financing amount: 
$3,980,000 (as of July 2012)
Co-financing total: 
$58,480,000 (as of July 2012)

Key results and outputs

Outcome 1. Adaptation scaled up in two vulnerable Districts of Agro-ecological Region V.

  • Output 1.1 Climate public expenditure and institutional analysis carried out in two vulnerable Districts in Agro-ecological region V to determine CCA expenditures and CCA expenditure gaps in District level budgets.
  • Output 1.2 Decentralized Climate Change Adaptation plans developed for two vulnerable districts in Masvingo province in similar agro-ecological setting as Chiredzi district.
  • Output 1.3 Develop technical training materials and train as trainers 30 provincial and district level Subject Matter Specialists from district councils, Agritex, Research and Specialist Services, Water, Irrigation and Civil Society Organizations in climate change planning and programming
  • Output 1.4 Guidance developed for Local Governments on mainstreaming and planning for climate change adaptation

Outcome 2: Strengthened awareness and ownership of adaptation and climate risk reduction processes at local level

  • Output 2.1 Adaptation measures to improve resilience of crop and livestock production systems implemented to support the development and implementation of the decentralized adaptation plans.
  • Output 2.2 Inclusive finance services implemented to support climate risk management and autonomous adaptation among vulnerable rural communities.

Outcome 3. National climate change adaptation investment framework developed and mainstreamed into broader development frameworks

  • Output 3.1 Climate public expenditure and institutional analysis carried out at national level to determine CCA expenditures and CCA expenditure gaps in national budgets.
  • Output 3.2  Training developed and rolled out to 20 national level planners on climate change, adaptation and links to budgetary and accountability systems.
  • Output 3.3 Working groups convened to develop national CCA investment plan.
  • Output 3.4 Climate change investment plan developed, to include public and private financing sources.
  • Output 3.5 Recommendations for an accountability framework developed, based on the current Government monitoring and evaluation system and budgetary classification code.
  • Output 3.6 Regulatory and fiscal incentives to stimulate climate risk reduction by the private sector and rural households identified and implemented.

Monitoring and evaluation

Project Start:

Project Inception Workshop: will be held within the first 2 months of project start with those with assigned roles in the project organization structure, UNDP country office and where appropriate/feasible regional technical policy and programme advisors as well as other stakeholders.  The Inception Workshop is crucial to building ownership for the project results and to plan the first year annual work plan. 


Day to day monitoring of implementation progress: will be the responsibility of the Project Manager, based on the project's Annual Work Plan and its indicators, with overall guidance from the Project Director. The Project Team will inform the UNDP-CO of any delays or difficulties faced during implementation so that the appropriate support or corrective measures can be adopted in a timely and remedial fashion.


Project Progress Reports (PPR): quarterly reports will be assembled based on the information recorded and monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Management Platform. Risk analysis will be logged and regularly updated in ATLAS.


Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period (30 June to 1 July).  The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF reporting requirements.  

Periodic Monitoring through Site Visits: 

UNDP CO and the UNDP RCU will conduct visits to project sites based on the agreed schedule in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand project progress.  Other members of the Project Board may also join these visits.  A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP RCU and will be circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team and Project Board members.

Mid-Term of Project Cycle:

Mid-Term Evaluation: will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed.  It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management.  Findings of this review will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project's term.  

End of Project:  

Final Evaluation: will take place three months prior to the final Project Board meeting and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance.  The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place).  The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of global environmental benefits/goals.  The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities.

Project Terminal Report: This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved.  It will also lie out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project's results.

Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums. 

The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.

Establish a two-way flow of information between this project and other projects of a similar focus.


Benjamin Larroquette
Regional Technical Advisor