Zimbabwe, Mutare Town


In 2008 Zimbabwe AHEAD played its part in the national cholera emergency, by galvanising communities to protect themselves from this killer disease through the training in Community Health Clubs (CHCs). Whist in normal circumstances, Community Health Clubs in Zimbabwe have a six month course of 24 health sessions, the training was curtailed to a 10 session training. Our project started in Mutare in October 2009, targeting the sprawling high density suburb of Damgamvura in an effort to contain the outbreak.

A few months later there were 10 health clubs, varying from 61 – 496 members, with the average club size of 182 active members. Club attendance rose over the past few weeks to a total of 3,320 people but regular registered members are 1,400 of which 84 (6%) were male while 1,316 (94%) were female. The reason for this sudden upsurge in attendance is attributed to the fact that CHCs are a new phenomenon and many people hoped this was a way of getting onto the Non Food Item (NFI) register, a package given to the most vulnerable. Instead by joining CHCs they are provided with the means, by health knowledge, to defend themselves against cholera by their own efforts. Read more in the 2009 Annual Report.

  • Country: Zimbabwe
  • Period: October 2012 – September, 2013
  • Donor: USAID – OCHA
  • Partner: Local Authority
  • Province: Manicaland
  • District: Mutare Urban
  • 8 Wards: Dangamvura: 6,7,8,9,15,18 & Chikanga 14 & 16
  • Number of households: 3,38
  • Number of CHCs: (2012) 18
  • Number of Members: 664  (2012)
  • Number of CHC facilitators: 12
  • Number of beneficiaries: 3,386
  • Cost of Project: US$125,000
  • Cost per beneficiary: US$36.9
  • Country: Zimbabwe
  • Period: October 2009 – March 2010
  • Donor: USAID – OCHA
  • Partner: OXFAM
  • Province: Manicaland
  • District: Mutare Urban
  • 10 Wards: Sakubva
  • Number of households: 1,400
  • Number of CHCs:10
  • Number of Members: 1,400
  • Number of CHC facilitators: 12
  • Number of beneficiaries: 10,896
  • Cost of Project: US$115,653
  • Cost per beneficiary: US$10.60

In 2012/13 we were back in Mutare Urban in new wards of Chikanga and Dagamvura, funded by USAID – OFDA in a cholera mitigation programme which was the start up of 18 CHCs and 664 members.

Community Health clubs in towns tend to be smaller and therefore the cost per beneficiary is much more than in rural areas. another challenge was to get males involved in the clubs, particularly as an urban area men  are employed. However we found that as ever, the women,flocked to the training, and there was a high level of adherence to recommended practices. It appears despite the fact that the pictures are a bit simplistic, women still had a lot to learn and the content of the training in hygiene was not too basic and is still of interest to urban women. As most urbanites still retain their rural homes, it is expected that uncounted activities go on  in the ‘musha’ which we cannot measure.  Urban CHCs are a thing of the future.


2012 Annual Report. page 6. for USAID Cholera Mitigation Programme

Community testimony:

“Before we did not often wash our bodies or our clothing. Even our environment was very dirty, but now we are practicing good personal hygiene and environmental hygiene. And I like it!” says a CHC member who proudly carries her membership card in her head scarf.

Below: residents all contribute and clean their own street drains outside their plots.

Left: Women from community health clubs clean the mounds of garbage outside the market place


2009 Annual Report; page 10: community Health Clubs in a time of Cholera (OXFAM)