Doubling Down on A Year of Resilience and Progress

UNDP Zimbabwe’s 2023 Achievements

May 31, 2024

As Zimbabwe reaches the halfway mark towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been a vital partner in driving progress. The 2023 Annual Report highlights significant strides made across various sectors under the themes of People, Planet, Prosperity, and Peace. This blog post delves into the key achievements and initiatives that have marked a year of resilience and innovation in Zimbabwe.

People: Strengthening Health and Education

One of the most notable accomplishments in 2023 has been the enhancement of Zimbabwe's health system. Over 1 million people continued their Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART), a critical effort in combating HIV/AIDS. – contributing significantly to Zimbabwe reaching the 95-95-95 target set for 2025, two years early in 2023, bringing the HIV rate down to 11.01%.   This was bolstered by the completion of the Mutare NatPharm warehouse, ensuring a robust medical supply chain. Additionally, the support provided to over 20,000 vulnerable young girls through fees and uniform subsidies helped prevent HIV infections and broke the cycle of poverty.

Education also saw significant improvements with the establishment of temporary boarding facilities, offering a safe and conducive environment for girls’ education. This initiative eliminated the need for unsafe 'bush boardings', allowing many young girls to focus on their studies and achieve their full potential.

Planet: Promoting Renewable Energy and Biodiversity

UNDP has been at the forefront of promoting renewable energy and protecting biodiversity in Zimbabwe. In 2023, 150 households transitioned from firewood to clean biogas, and 19 health facilities and two warehouses adopted solar power, joining over 1,044 existing solar-powered facilities to generate over 10mW of power, in total. This shift reduces carbon emissions and ensures sustainable and reliable energy sources for critical operations.

Reforestation efforts have been commendable, with over 270,000 trees planted. This initiative combats deforestation and restores natural habitats. Additionally, a significant reduction in poaching was noted in the Zambezi Valley, with only one elephant lost to poaching in 2023. The installation of solar-powered irrigation systems, such as the one at Masholomoshe Irrigation Scheme, has improved water efficiency and agricultural productivity by cutting water use by 60%​​ .

Prosperity: Fostering Economic Growth and Empowerment

Economic empowerment has been a key focus for UNDP. In 2023, community-based Savings and Lending Groups collectively saved over US$260,000, which was reinvested in local agriculture and small enterprises. This grassroots financial inclusion fosters self-reliance and strengthens local economies.

To expand access to irrigation, we are establishing or renovating 24 climate-smart irrigation schemes over the next three years, increasing the area under sustainable irrigation by over 1800 hectares. In 2023, we commenced construction on nine of the irrigation schemes and completed two, putting us on track to achieve our ambitious goals. Further, UNDP implemented nine irrigation schemes – the first of 24 planned

At the policy level, UNDP's advocacy led to the adoption of critical recommendations on domestic resource mobilization in the 2024 budget. Contributions to Zimbabwe’s flagship Economic Development Conference provided valuable insights that informed national budget and economic policies​​.

Peace: Enhancing Justice and Democratic Participation

UNDP’s investments in strengthening justice institutions are paying off. The introduction of virtual court systems has reduced case backlogs and improved access to justice. In 2023, nearly 2,800 cases were heard virtually, a significant portion of the country’s remand hearings backlog.

Voter education efforts were also notable, reaching 5.9 million people and enhancing democratic participation. Support for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission included developing educational materials, conducting outreach initiatives, and partnering with UNESCO and UN Women to strengthen media capacity and monitor gender issues during elections​​.

Key Sectoral Highlights


The healthcare sector saw substantial improvements with the construction of 178 pharmacies equipped with modern amenities, ensuring communities have better access to essential medicines. Additionally, the installation of 447 solar-powered boreholes at health facilities provided reliable access to clean water for staff and patients. This initiative is crucial for quality healthcare and healthier communities​​.


Efforts to close the energy gap focused on providing underserved communities with renewable energy solutions. In 2023, additional solar systems were installed at 19 more health facilities and two pharmaceutical warehouses, generating a combined 1.85 MW of solar power. The establishment of off-grid energy kiosks also created employment opportunities and facilitated local economic growth​​ .


Climate-smart irrigation pivots powered by solar energy were implemented in various agricultural projects. Support for smallholder farmers included adopting climate-smart agricultural practices, ensuring resilient and sustainable farming methods. These efforts have helped farmers achieve yields that match or exceed national averages for key crops like sorghum and millet​​ .

Wildlife and Biodiversity

The Parks and Wildlife (Amendment) Act, supported by UNDP, promotes sustainable resource use, community involvement, and benefit sharing. This legislation strengthens the legal framework to protect ecosystems and ensure communities can coexist with wildlife. Anti-poaching efforts have led to a decline in wildlife poaching and a reduction in veld fires​​.

Food Security and Innovation

UNDP’s Accelerator Lab made significant strides in addressing the threat of swarming quelea birds, which can consume up to 10% of yields. By leveraging AI and drone technologies, sustainable methods were developed to control these birds, protecting food security​​.

Operational Efficiency and Environmental Responsibility

UNDP’s commitment to environmental responsibility and operational efficiency has yielded tangible benefits. The installation of a solar power plant at their offices provided uninterrupted power and cost savings while reducing the carbon footprint. These efforts were complemented by assisting the private and hospitality sectors in auditing their waste generation and developing sustainable waste management practices​​ .

Partnerships and Future Goals

The progress made in 2023 would not have been possible without the dedicated partners of UNDP, including the Government of Zimbabwe, development partners, implementing agencies, and the communities served. As Zimbabwe continues its journey towards achieving the SDGs, UNDP remains committed to supporting the nation. Efforts to recover from the El Niño drought, re-engage with international partners, and streamline internal programs for maximum impact are ongoing. The focus will also remain on expanding initiatives that foster prosperity for all Zimbabweans.

In conclusion, UNDP's 2023 Annual Report highlights the organization's significant contributions to Zimbabwe's sustainable development. By strengthening health and education systems, promoting renewable energy and biodiversity, fostering economic growth and empowerment, and enhancing justice and democratic participation, UNDP is helping build a brighter, more sustainable future for Zimbabwe. Continued collaboration and innovation will be key to overcoming challenges and achieving the SDGs.