Spontaneous resettlement in frontier regions of Zimbabwe has been a useful way of getting land on which to begin building a livelihood. Through this process, sparsely populated rural districts skirting the mid-Zambezi Valley have undergone long-term socio-economic change. In a case study of Rengwe in Hurungwe District, the paper shows that households that migrated and spontaneously resettled in Rengwe were able to double arable land-holding while gaining membership of a growing frontier community. In the absence of adequate institutional support from the state, however, resettled households were unable to secure key socio-economic services and infrastructure. The study shows that, once resettled, households pursued diversified livelihoods although the levels of diversity varied between households. Poor households showed the least diversity. Although more land provided immediate relief to livelihoods under stress and allowed some households to accumulate assets, a majority of households still had inadequate incomes to stay out of poverty. The study shows that spontaneous resettlement may provide land but, in the absence of public policy intervention to provide social services and infrastructure, it is not a viable alternative to planned settlements.
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Global Development Institute