Thursday, November 29, 2007

How Bad is it ???

Have you heard that inflation is really bad in Zimbabwe?

How bad is it?

It’s so bad - that the government statistical office can no longer calculate it! Wow, that’s bad. But how can that be?

Inflation is calculated by comparing the average cost of a set basket of goods - the cost of margarine, flour, sugar, milk, maize meal, salt, tomatoes, transportation etc. In Oct 07 inflation was officially recorded at 14,800% in Zimbabwe - so prices go up daily and even hourly.

The government decided to take action and mandated all prices be cut by 50% and held there. Of course there is a relationship between cost of goods and selling price in order to make a reasonable profit. So when this cost cutting was declared, shops could no longer afford to buy goods since they are now required to sell at a loss.

The goods in the shops quickly sold out with the new lower prices but there were no replacement goods being purchased. You can guess how this ends up; yes the shops are all empty now!

Now let’s get back to the cost of that basket of goods... what goods? ... That’s right; there are no goods to put in the basket! There is no way to calculate inflation on an empty basket.

On the positive side - at least everything is reasonably priced!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Books Ready for Distribution

The books have arrived and the fanfare starts on November 21st! ASAP now has two containers of very useful text and supplementary books in our warehouse in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Some have already been handed out to schools but the official handover to the Ministry of Education will be on the 21st of November. Then the real work of distribution to the 110 schools we work with begins.

ASAP has also purchased over Z$3.5 billion worth of Mathematics textbooks (published in Zimbabwe) ranging from Grade 1 to 7 for use by schools in the Bridge The Gap (BTG) in Mathematics program.

Most schools where ASAP works are quite poor and may only have 3 to 4 books of a subject for a class of fifty students. It makes it pretty tough to teach not to mention learn! Here you see the joy of getting books on the faces of some teachers at Selbourne Primary School.

These books are the result of a joint Rotary project between the three Fayette County, Georgia Rotary Clubs and the Borrowdale Brooke Club in Harare, Zimbabwe. On the right ASAP Country Director Regai Tsunga hands books to Deputy Head Edward Masaiti.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Good Luck to Raymond Mereta

We were please to hear from Raymond Mereta on the ASAP blog today and wish him every success in his decision to focus his expertise in agriculture and food preservation to continue to benefit the African people.
Raymond Mereta, now a Development Studies student in Namibia, was an employee of ASAP in 2003. Raymond helped ASAP develop our ongoing Health and Nutrition Development Initiative Project. The HANDEI project includes growing and using medicinal herbs to help alleviate the symptoms and suffering of those suffering form HIV/AIDS.