Kvinnor demonstrerar med ett plakat märkt: "protect us from rape".

Photo Maria Selin / Embassy of Sweden in ZImbabwe

Our work in Zimbabwe

Each day, the women and girls of Zimbabwe must fight for their basic rights. Despite progress, the country's male-dominated culture remains, and assaults and violence against women and girls occur daily. Sida supports local partners' work with strengthening human rights for young women and men.

Två kvinnor pumpar vatten från en kran på landsbygden i Zimbabwe.

Photo Wonder Jekemu / Embassy of Sweden in ZImbabwe

Our work in Zimbabwe

In the Zimbabwean countryside where traditional roles of equality are stronger, women are often marginalised. Through local partners, Sida helps to secure women's access to various social services – such as water and sanitation, agricultural support and similar.


Our work in Zimbabwe

Updated: 22 December 2017

Sweden's development cooperation with Zimbabwe has traditionally been focused on democracy and human rights as well as providing vulnerable groups access to social services. In 2017 environment, climate change, resilience and renewable energy was added as a third focus area.

The total budget for the development cooperation strategy with Zimbabwe for the years 2017-2021 amounts to 1.5 billion SEK over the five-year period. It focuses on three thematic areas:

  • Human Rights, Democracy, the Rule of Law and Gender Equality
  • Equal Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
  • Livelihoods, Environment, Climate Change and Renewable Energy

Human rights

Ineffective enforcement of democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe is a major root cause of some of the socioeconomic challenges currently facing the country. There is shrinking space for human rights organisations to function, an increase in human rights abuses, and an increased politicizing of institutions.

To strengthen the monitoring, protection and promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe, Sweden supports 10 human rights organization with projects such as awareness raising on human rights, legal support and support for litigation to people affected by human rights violations and abuses, as well as support to organisations dealing with the care of people exposed to politically motivated violence and torture.

Sweden supports the Raoul Wallenberg Institute with a project which aims to contribute to enhanced enjoyment of constitutional rights in Zimbabwe through legislation, policies, practices and decision-making increasingly informed by international human rights standards and principles.

Sweden also supports programmes that aim to strengthen the democracy in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) provide electoral support, election observation, voter education and electoral advocacy. Sweden also supports a programme that aims to strengthen the rule of law, implemented by the Legal Recourses Foundation. It works to strengthen the capacity of Zimbabweans to assert their legal and human rights with confidence and trust in the justice delivery system.

Furthermore, Sweden supports the building of capacity against Gender Based Violence. The programme is spearheaded by UNFPA and works from national to district level to enhance availability and accessibility to quality services.


Until the mid-1990s, Zimbabwe had one of the best primary health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa. During the first decade of the new millennium, Zimbabwe's health systems were affected by an extremely challenging socioeconomic and political environment that resulted in the worsening of virtually all health indicators.

Sweden supports the Health Development Fund, a multi-donor fund, administered and implemented by UNICEF and UNFPA. It aims to improve equitable access and quality of health care in Zimbabwe, with special emphasis on maternal and child health and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Improving gender equality and changing attitudes and gender norms, particularly regarding masculinity, is an important issue for Sweden. Therefore, Sweden supports SAfAIDS in their work to improve SRHR and reduce Gender Based Violence and HIV infections among boys and girls.

Sexual and gender based violence is widespread in Zimbabwe and many young girls and boys suffer greatly. UNICEF has a nationwide Child Protection Programme of which Sweden is one of the main donors. The program works with strengthening capacities of local authorities to keep records of reported violence against children to strengthen their child protection efforts.

Livelihoods and Environment

Zimbabwe is affected by multiple and critical environmental challenges such as land degradation and deforestation, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity and waste management problems. These challenges have the hardest impact on the already vulnerable in society. Furthermore, the fragile state of Zimbabwe's economy is a challenge, and it is also something that has a great impact on the vulnerable in society.

Impacts of environmental degradation and climatic variability and change have the potential to undermine achievements in the first two thematic areas. Furthermore, access to safe and clean energy as well as water has the potential to bolster resilient economic development; help to promote equal health for Zimbabwe's poor and vulnerable, whilst increasing the sustainability of interventions in the long run. The projects Sweden supports in the health sector, such as access to clean energy and water, mentioned above, targets these issues.

Sweden supports the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund. This multi- donor fund, implemented by UNDP, aims to increase capacities of communities to protect development gains and improve well-being in the face of shocks and stresses enabling them to contribute to the economic growth of Zimbabwe.

Sweden also supports Barclays Loan Portfolio Guarantee, that works for financial inclusion for women-owned enterprises and micro-small-and medium-size enterprises. Furthermore, Sweden supports a UNICEF Green Innovations Hub, to ignite social change and unlock young people's potential to achieve sustainable development through social and green innovation.

Who we work with

Currently no funds from the Swedish government are channelled to the government of Zimbabwe directly. The collaborations and support to multilateral and civil society organizations are therefore key. Strengthened civil society organisations have the ability to support citizens in areas which are not prioritized by the government.

Multi-donor funds reduce the risk of duplication and can be more effective. Sida supports Zimref which is administered by the World Bank and funds projects to, for example, improve the access to clean water, improve financial management within the public sector and to modernise public procurements. Sida also supports the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund which is a joint UN programme against gender based violence.

Page owner: Department for Africa

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