Mobility is central to the functioning of our society. This is just as true in Switzerland as it is in southern Africa, where many people rely on public transportation to reach their jobs, go to school or access medical services. Due to the global rise in energy prices, already expensive transportation is now becoming a luxury good. This also impacts the work of our partner organizations in southern Africa.
All partner organizations of terre des hommes switzerland depend on affordable transport. In Zimbabwe, a liter of gasoline now costs 2.79 USD per liter. For a rural nurse with a low average income of 60 USD per month, this is an unimaginably high sum. If you compare this with a minimum income of CHF 4,000 in Switzerland, the proportional price per liter is CHF 119.
Mobile health services become more expensive
In any case, few Zimbabweans can afford their own vehicle and are dependent on public transportation. Nonetheless, inflation is making itself felt. Siphosenkosi Siziba is also feeling the effects. She is a youth worker at our Zimbabwean . "Everyone here in the country is feeling the price increase. So do we. Because many people could not afford to go to the hospital or to a health post before, we regularly organized mobile health services and brought nurses to the communities. We not only have to pay for the fuel for the ambulance. The nurses also have to come to the ambulance. These transportation costs are now almost unaffordable."
Impact on the quality of work
This is just one example of how project costs have increased. Many of our partner organizations work with home visits in sometimes very remote regions, for example to accompany HIV-positive young people in taking vital medication or to offer psychosocial support to victims of sexual violence and their families. Tayson Mudarikiri, national coordinator of terre des hommes switzerland in Harare, is aware of the dilemma faced by many organizations: "Many try to compensate for the price increase by reducing the frequency of visits. Of course, this affects the quality of our work and projects."
Respond flexibly to the reality of everyday project life
During the last visit of the terre des hommes switzerland team to the project regions in May 2022, rising energy and food prices were a main topic. Our approach of working at eye level with local offices and staff, and thus being close to current local needs, also allows us to respond quickly and flexibly to needs and context changes. In this way, we have been able to react together quickly to the current situation, so that mobility remains guaranteed to a degree sufficient for meaningful and efficient project implementation. This also makes our work credible and trustworthy for the work in the field.
The rising costs in the energy and related food sector will continue to keep us busy in the coming period. Would you like to help us continue our work? We look forward to your support.