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A Mother in Zimbabwe…

I have been working in the Harare office for three days now, walking into work and getting a lift home from a local driver or another ex-pat at the end of the day. I am staying temporarily in a bungalow in an area called Avondale, close to the office in Belgravia, but will move into a flat with two others later in the week.

My job title here is ‘Programme Support Officer’ and this means I have to write weekly Situation Reports (a summary of the Zimbabwean context for our work, what we are doing, how many children are benefiting – a crucial document for the Alliance, our donors and our supporters).

I am also tasked with keeping monitoring and evaluation tools up to date and supporting the Emergencies Programme Co-ordinator, Amanda Weisbaum, on a day-to-day basis.

My first Situation Report had to completed on Day Two in the office which kept me busy: you have to liaise with key members of the SC UK team as well as with SC Norway and SC in South Africa to get a full picture of the Zimbabwean emergency, its impact and our Alliance response.

Information has to come in from the ‘field’ and this can often only take place by radio transmission from some areas.

Leaving the house this morning, I met the housekeeper, Sophie, coming into work. She had seen a photo of my niece and nephew beside my bed and asked if they were my children.

We discovered we were both the same age but that she has two children (aged 13 and nearly 18). She explained that it has been hard to be a mother in Zimbabwe, with no money, no food in the shops and not able to feed her children for days at a time.

She was proud, though, she said, to have been able to keep her children in school and pay their school fees throughout, even if it meant going without food.

Education is important.

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