There have been and still are concerted efforts to curb the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. Locally people have been largely concerned about how financial hurdles can stifle the effective roll-out of initiatives. There were indications by the government that a national emergency fund would be established in the fight against COVID-19. However, due to how uncertain government-based actions have been from the onset people are sceptical. It is with that working theory that people have felt it is best if they come up with initiatives themselves. One of those initiatives is being spearheaded by Citizens Initiative. They have decided to come up with a crowd-funding initiative to raise funds.

Who Is Citizens Initiative And Their Objectives?

This is a non-profit organization that is registered in the US. They are supporting doctors in the frontline and families that have been affected by the Corona Virus. Since the pandemic has now entered Zimbabwe, Citizens Initiative is seeking to complement efforts by other stakeholders through fund-raising. The intended use of the funds will be to support healthcare professionals or institutions with protective gear and cleaning supplies. The other aim is to provide practical and psycho-social support to health professionals working in this emergency. Lastly, they want to assist families affected by the pandemic and those at great risk to cope.

How To Contribute

You can go onto the GoFundMe platform. The specific page for this initiative on that platform is titled “Zimbabwe Covid-19 Citizens Healthcare Support Fund” by Freeman Chari. Let me hasten to mention that Freeman Chari was very instrumental in raising funds from the diaspora for the Cyclone Idai disaster and Binga floods disaster using GoFundMe. Suffice to say that he has a proven track record in these matters. Alternatively, you can contribute by sending donation money through EcoCash – the number is +263 777 078 387. If you happen to have donations in kind you can contact Freeman Chari on +1 (513) 295-4405 or Wellington Mahohoma on +263 777 078 387.

Noteworthy Talking Points

I feel there are things that I have to discuss here that have to be clarified. It is surprising that some people cited concerns over the use of a personal EcoCash number. It is a valid concern and some people might actually not send anything thinking this might not be legitimate. Someone even suggested that by now Freeman Chari should have registered or something. He did shed light on that and indicated that it is not that easy to just set up a trust let alone a trust account. I somehow get where he is coming from especially considering that disasters or pandemics come unawares.

The time to formalize things might not be there given the urgency. Like I said earlier, Freeman Chari has a proven track record in crowdfunding for situations like these. I can say with utmost certainty that this initiative is legitimate and well worth anyone’s contribution. There have also been concerns regarding how there is need for a merchant code so that the issues of charges are minimized. All that is valid but I am guessing getting a merchant line is not as easy nowadays especially for EcoCash – One Money could somewhat be easier but most people are on EcoCash.

Some people also encouraged that there be stipulated targets as to the funds to be raised. For instance, establish how much a ventilator costs and then raise funds towards that. This is to help people contribute to knowing the exact item(s) they are donating towards. Anyways, crowdfunding is very important and we have seen how powerful it can be. During the Cyclone Idai disaster, we saw tangible proof of how effective it can be.

I am still concerned as to why we still do not have local crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe. It would be so much easier to raise funds locally since doing it abroad takes time and can be challenging when moving the funds over here. We saw that happening during the Cyclone Idai disaster.