UMCOR / News Room / News & Features / Archives 2010 / 0416 - UMCOR Grants for Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo Approved

UMCOR Grants for Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo Approved

April 15, 2010—More than 16,000 households in Zimbabwe will benefit from the distribution of maize meal by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.

“The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe has slightly improved, but the country faces substantial cereal deficit,” said Thomas Dwyer, executive director of UMCOR-NGO, the unit of the relief agency working with the church in Zimbabwe to distribute the food.

A grant of $214,564 for a continuing food assistance program in the southern African country was approved on April 14 by directors of UMCOR, meeting in Stamford, Connecticut, and confirmed by the full board of directors of the General Board of Global Ministries. UMCOR is part of Global Ministries.

The allocation will buy 408 metric tons of maize meal which will be distributed to the most poor and vulnerable households in the 12 districts of the United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. Pastors and other church leaders will assist in registering the most vulnerable.

An emergency allocation of $100,000 from the total grant already was approved last month so that an initial emergency distribution could begin. The action by the board of directors of UMCOR and GBGM will permit the balance of the distribution to be completed.

This is UMCOR’s third food assistance effort in Zimbabwe. In March, 2009, 408 metric tons of maize meal were successfully distributed throughout the 12 church districts. In January, 2009, working with Zoe Ministries of North Carolina, distribution of 100 metric tons of maize meal was completed, serving 11,000 students and 1,200 households.

Funds for this phase of UMCOR’s Zimbabwe emergency food program comes from the World Hunger Poverty Advance, which is a broad-based donor designated fund.

The food assistance program in Zimbabwe is highly organized to assure that the cereal reach the most needy.  It requires registration and uses a system of accountability on quanities of food distributed.

In another action, a grant of $200,000 from endowed funds was approved to meet a gap in funding for an anti-malaria program in the North Katanga Province of the Democratic of Congo (DRC). The supplement is needed to continue the provision of long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets in the Kamina, Kukama, and Kabondo Dianda health centers. The program also includes community-based awareness-raising activities on malaria prevention and treatment.

The two-year program had initial funds from a coalition of funders and is coordinated with government health zones to increase the effectiveness. The Thwing Trust of UMCOR is the source of the $200,000 supplement.

Directors of UMCOR and Global Ministries also reviewed and ratified $231,798 in relief and rehabilitation grants under $10,000 each made between August 1, 2009, and January 31, 2010, and $792,030 in grants between $10,000 and $100,000 made during the same time period.
The UMCOR board approved the extension into international disaster relief of a policy that allows up to 10 per cent of gifts made through the Advance to be set aside for church repair and other church needs. This policy already applies to domestic relief, as provided by the directors in April, 2009. The Advance is the designated giving channel of The United Methodist Church.

Relief funds for church-related purposes are requested separately from funds for humanitarian aid, and are in most cases requested by annual (regional) conferences or other comparable judicatories. Requests for under $10,000 can be considered by staff; those exceeding $10,000 must be approved by UMCOR directors.

The extension of the policy was approved to ensure consistency between domestic and international policy.