Note from the Field: Zimbabwe Office Hosts End-of-Project Event
On Thursday, September 27, the EGPAF/Zimbabwe staff parking lot – which is normally dry and dusty – enjoyed a “dream makeover” when it became the venue for the end-of-project event for the USAID five-year bilateral agreement.
In attendance were many heads of agencies, several of EGPAF’s PMTCT partners, and numerous beneficiaries. EGPAF/Zimbabwe Country Director Dr. Agnes Mahomva welcomed all invited guests and informed everyone present that the event was held to formally notify partners and stakeholders of the closeout of this funding grant, which began on October 1, 2008 and ended on September 30, 2012.
Dr. Mahomva also gave special thanks to USAID for its support of EGPAF and the national PMTCT programme. She proudly stated that during the lifespan of the agreement, USAID’s support enabled EGPAF to increase its support to Zimbabwe’s national PMTCT program significantly – going from three pilot sites in 2008 to 1,366 sites reaching over 1.3 million women across the country.
EGPAF was honored to have one of Zimbabwe’s traditional chiefs, Chief Chiveso of Bindura Shamva Districts in Mashonaland Central Province, in attendance. Chief Chiveso is a strong supporter of the PMTCT programme, and he was quick to mention that the main objective of his participation was to not only thank USAID for their generosity and support over the past five years, but also to urge everyone involved to continue to push forward tirelessly in the pursuit of a generation free of HIV in Zimbabwe.
In her remarks as Guest of Honour, USAID’s Zimbabwe Mission Director Melissa Williams acknowledged EGPAF’s technical expertise and global leadership in implementing comprehensive PMTCT programs. Further, she congratulated the Zimbabwe team for successfully completing the agreement despite a period of severe economic hardship that the country has experienced during the most recent five-year period.
Dr. Barbara Englesmann, director of the Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID), represented the three sub-grantees and implementing partners of EGPAF and the Family AIDS Initiatives (FAI) consortium, which include OPHID, the J.F. Kapnek Charitable Trust, and the Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Project (ZAPP). She thanked EGPAF for its principled leadership, and referenced Henry Ford’s famous quote that “true success is in staying together” as she looked back on all that the consortium had accomplished in five years despite numerous challenges.
Representing the Ministry of Health of Child Welfare, National PMTCT and Pediatric HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Coordinator Dr. Angela Mushavi highlighted the longstanding support that Zimbabwe’s national PMTCT programme has enjoyed from USAID. “I would to like to personally thank USAID, which has consistently supported us from the very beginning of the PMTCT pilot in 1999 to the current nationwide roll-out,” she said. “PMTCT services are now available in 1,560 ANC sites; this represents a coverage rate of 95% of all health facilities in Zimbabwe.”
The event ended with the presentation of a gift to USAID: a heartwarming, framed “Story of Hope” and picture of Patience Mapfumo, an EGPAF Ambassador who is a direct beneficiary of PMTCT services in Zimbabwe. Mrs. Mapfumo was in attendance, and was invited to present the gift to USAID herself. Afterward, she was all smiles as she mentioned that because of the USAID agreement, she was looking and feeling brighter in person than she did in the picture—and was now enjoying a full life with her children!
Caroline Zinyemba is Office Manager for the Foundation's Zimbabwe office, based in Lusaka, Zimbabwe.