Juliet and her child
Columbus Mavhunga


We've worked in Zimbabwe since 1982. We work to build healthy communities, by addressing gender-based violence and improving health in prisons.

The ACTIVE programme

UK aid logo


The Active Citizenship Through Inclusive Volunteering and Empowerment (ACTIVE) programme is a three year grant from the UK government, which aims to create more inclusive, open, resilient, and gender equitable societies through reduced poverty, inequality, and vulnerability amongst communities in Zimbabwe.

Key in its approach is addressing climate changes in the region, which is a huge factor in causing poor livelihoods outcomes. The programme is tackling this through enhancing inclusive and gender sensitive climate adaptation and mitigation work, using climate resilient agriculture. VSO are working with women small holder farmers, youth and their networks in fragile spaces in the region.

ACTIVE also supports healthy communities through teaching small holder farmers about sexual and reproductive health services and enhancing their access to these services. The health and livelihoods integration considers the key differences between men and women and how to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of both sexes. ACTIVE is also supporting the mobilisation of small holder farmers’ networks to develop accountability tools and influence policy change around agroecology. 

Key aims:

  • Enhance the voice and agency of small holder farmer groups especially women on climate resilient agriculture. 
  • Building the resilience and livelihoods of communities in fragile spaces  
  • Enhancing resilient, gender sensitive and inclusive climate change adaptation and mitigation actions 
  • Build the capacity of farmer movements and volunteer organisations on the Global Volunteering Standards 

Healthy communities

A group of male prisoners sit in a circle listening to a peer educator speak about health issues
VSO/Cynthia R Matonhodze

Peer support groups are at the heart of our work to improve prisoners' health and wellbeing.

Improving prison health

In collaboration with the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, local government departments and partner NGOs, we work to support prisoners’ wellbeing and access to health services, with a particular focus on responding to high rates of HIV infection and AIDS amongst prison populations. We train inmates as volunteer peer educators, who provide essential information, advice and psychosocial support to their fellow prisoners – encouraging them to get tested and manage their condition effectively.

Through vocational skills and livelihoods training, we prepare prisoners for their life after release, supporting them to earn a decent living and reintegrate successfully into the local community. We also empower prisoners to understand their rights to healthcare and hold authorities to account, through a community scorecard system that provides an invaluable feedback mechanism and a space to improve the relationship between inmates and authorities.

Improving prison health and wellbeing

Speak it Loud!

January 2020 to December 2022

Alongside our partner Women in Law Southern Africa, our Speak it Loud! project worked to empower existing women’s movements and build their capacity to address violence against women and girls in the Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Manicaland provinces.

Speak it loud

Contact us

We work with a number of partners including the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, Women in Law Southern Africa, and local government entities.

If you are interested in supporting our work, or if you have another query, get in touch:

Address: 54 Golden Stairs, Ashbrittle, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Tel:  +263 2423 35967 / 335712

Find out more about our work in:

A social worker at Chikurubi Female Prison.
Cynthia R Matonhodze

Prison health

Improving the health and wellbeing of marginalised and neglected prison populations.