How COVID-19 affected informal livelihoods in Harare

Two video case studies show how livelihoods in Harare, Zimbabwe were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  


The COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate impact on the informal sector in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The informal sector accounts for more than 90% of all jobs in Zimbabwe, providing a lifeline for countless individuals residing in informal settlements and struggling with poverty.

The videos below highlight the experiences of two people from the Mabvuku Tafara community working in the informal sector, showing how COVID-19 exacerbated existing challenges while also reflecting on some positive outcomes.

Mabvuku livelihood case study: carpentry

This video features Mr Shuviro, a carpenter and dedicated member of the Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation (ZHPF). The COVID-19 disruptions left him without a proper working space after regulations forced the closure of home industries where he used to operate.

For Shuviro and countless others operating in the informal sector, the impact was profound. Some businesses were forced to shut down entirely, while others struggled to operate at a limited capacity, with the declining income exacerbating the existing challenges of poverty they face.

(Video: KYCTV Zimbabwe)

Mabvuku livelihood case study: waste collection

In this video, Zvisinei Mudzori, a member of the Zimbabwe Homeless People's Federation (ZHPF), shares her inspiring journey as a waste picker during the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnessing the determination of her fellow community members, Zvisinei embarked on waste picking herself, and it was a life-changing experience.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Zvisinei highlights the positive outcomes she and other waste collectors in Harare's informal settlements experienced. Personally, she has been able to pay her children's school fees, provide food for her family and strengthen the bond with her husband, which was previously strained due to financial constraints.

(Video: KYCTV Zimbabwe)