Government’s public works programme has been officially launched in Ngoma village of Gwanda, with the initiative being led by the District Development Fund (DDF) expected to accelerate rural development and uplift people’s standards of living.

The launch of the programme which comes at a time when most rural communities are reeling from the devastating effects of drought will see non-labour constrained households participating in the construction of assets in exchange for food.

Community and traditional leaders in Ngoma village spoke highly of the programme which has funded the sinking of boreholes for domestic and agriculture use as well as improved road infrastructure, among other projects.

“We are most grateful for the boreholes that have been sunk in our area as the water situation is dire. We also do not know how long it was going to take to complete Ngoma ECD classroom block. This programme does not only give us food which we desperately need but we are also going to benefit from the assets,” said one of the residents.

DDF Director in charge of water, Mr Edwin Toriro, thanked the local community for its zeal in partaking in the public works programme, adding that the department will continue working to improve water supply at the local irrigation scheme.

“We will help you with sinking another borehole at the irrigation scheme so that we create a green belt in this drought prone area,” said Mr Toriro.

Officially commissioning the programme at Ngoma primary school, Minister of state for Matabeleland South, Cde Abednico Ncube, re-assured the rural folk that no one will die of hunger as government is doing everything in its power to ensure food gets to the people.

“I wish to applaud all actors in the drought relief programme and urge them to continue to mitigate the effects of drought,” said Cde Ncube.

Those who participated in the public works programme being spearheaded by the DDF will receive a 50kg bag of grain and $160 dollars monthly.

Meanwhile, 1 280 people will participate in the maintenance of a 2471km road network across the province under the same programme.