Zimbabwe: – Community Technology Development Organisation – Roll Back Climate Change

Date: July 18, 2018
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Umguza Rural District Council (Umguza RDC) worked with Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO) in building community resilience from shocks and hazards through crop and livelihood diversification. The project was supported by donor communities under Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) code named Matebeleland Enhanced Livelihood And Nutrition Adaptation (MELANA) and it targeted the vulnerable rural members including women and the elderly.

The project sought to equip the communities with adaptive, absorptive and transformative capacities so as to better respond to climate change induced disasters such as drought, pest and diseases. Umguza RDC and CTDO had introduced the concept of Farming As A Business through drought resistant crops such as Sesame, sorghum and millet for improving household incomes and promoting food security. In addition Income Savings And Lending Schemes (ISALS) were linked to small livestock production activities like goat production to empower women and girls. Community Resilience Champions had been selected to support those activities.

The overall objective was to contribute for increased capacities of communities to protect development gains and achieve improved well-being outcomes in the face of shocks and stresses. That would be achieved through improving the absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities of at-risk communities. The project engaged Umguza RDC, Ministry of Agriculture and other government departments to plan and implement resilience building activities addressing infrastructure, food and nutrition security market linkages and community safety nets. The objective would achieve the capacitating of local authorities to better plan and coordinate the implementation of multi-stakeholder district and ward resilience plans. The supporting of households especially female headed and youth beneficiaries to diversify food production and improving livestock husbandry and marketing, promotion of improved health, hygiene and nutrition behaviour would be realised.

Economic development through support and establishment of new markets for crop and livestock farmers would be a reality. The strengthening of community fabric and safety nets including communal seed banks; granaries; cash savings/ISALs would be enhanced. That would allow households to access appropriate genetic material to replant in the event of crop failure and access food and income during times of crisis. Establishment of new self-sustaining markets increasing income generating opportunities for farmers (adaptive resilience). Farmers were trained on farming as a business and linked to markets. Small grain production was ideal for famers as witnessed by the sorghum production in ward 10, and sesame production. Sorghum NS 5511 and Sesame Lindi 02 were drought tolerant crops and less labour intensive.

That had enabled Umguza RDC and line ministries to plan and implement multi-stakeholder resilience plans. Capacity building included training, mentorship and funding community resilience infrastructure for example livestock sales pens in ward 12 and piped water scheme and dip-tank rehabilitation in ward 5, through Umguza RDC systems. In addition, Umguza RDC up to date had drafted a resilience plan. Strengthening social safety nets; to improve absorptive capacities. Social safety nets had been identified by in the target wards. Those included communal granaries; seed multiplying and banking, and ISALs with social funds. Those would be strengthened and expanded through funding and training on more transparent decision making on who should benefit and when with primary focus on women and children as they were in the forefront of agriculture production in rural areas.

There were 2 000 (52%) direct women beneficiaries and 1 837 (48%) direct men beneficiaries from the project making it a total of 3 837 direct beneficiaries. There were neither any indirect nor online beneficiaries recorded during the project running. On budget the local authority had an allocation of $200 000. The community partnered with council in securing all the needed resources for the success of the project. The private sector and public partnership approach by the project resulted in a close relations with the farmers. Some companies like Ingwebu and National Tested Seeds provided the bulk of the funding.

The monitoring and evaluation of this project took many stages. Firstly and in-depth contextual analysis: a multi-hazard, multi-sector  assessment of the environmental, institutional, social, economic, demographic factors that affected how households, communities, and governments prevent, cope with, and recovered from shocks was conducted to enable the design of context specific interventions. The analysis combined desk studies and field work. The monitoring processes also targeted women and youth through processes such as telling stories of change and empowerment.

Process monitoring: A monthly output monitoring tool was used to track project delivery. District based monitoring staff used the digital data gathering tool AkvoFLOW to collect the data. That expedited the data collection process by storing data on a central server as soon as the enumerator submitted it whilst still in the field.

Bi-annual Reviews: A project review meeting conducted on a six monthly basis in order to measure what progress was being made towards project targets and to review the project implementation approach in light of the lessons learnt during project. Bi annual reviews had a mandatory section on GESI where results and changes were demonstrated in both qualitative and quantitative terms.

Implementation: The review meeting was informed by the monthly reports, community feedback meetings and information from key stakeholders.

Routine Monitoring Visits: Umguza RDC and relevant stakeholders conducted monitoring visits to crop and livestock groups, ISALS and Entrepreneurship groups where interactions were made with beneficiaries on gender issues to determine the impact of the project on gender equality. The project had employed gender and social inclusion (GESI) strategy that sought to promote and measure equal representation of men and women in the project. Log frame indicators disaggregated for GESI allowed the project to continuously address emerging issues of exclusion.

The project was faced with various challenges. Resilience Building, as strategy for climate change and sustainable development programming, was a process. As such the major challenge had been resistance by some community members to actively participate in activities that had no immediate gains. The dependency syndrome ingrained through previous relief programs crippled community’s self reliance and capacity to better respond to shocks, leaving them more susceptible to climate change hazards.In addition, patriarchal systems still existed in the operational areas affecting equal participation of women and men in projects. Thus the project had employed gender and social inclusion (GESI) strategy to address these challenges.

Actions included the setting up and monitor participation and access quotas. Communication strategies that made women and men aware of the difference between sex and gender and that gender roles were cultural and could change. Capacity building of Umguza RDC staff and community stakeholders on GESI ensuring that Umguza RDCs would use GESI as a framework for analysis of its development initiatives had to be done. The mobilisation which centred on promoting women’s and marginalised groups equal participation at all levels of decision making in informal and formal institutions; stimulating inclusion of men in traditionally female domains was essential.

Thirdly, the effects of climate change continued to be felt throughout the seasons and poor knowledge/ awareness on preparedness coupled with weak early warning systems cripple efforts to effectively build resilience. The project had since established High Frequency Monitoring System (HFMS) monitored by a committee comprising Umguza RDC, District Administrator and Government line ministries.

Having realized that addressing the plight of women and girls through resilience building had positive effects in protecting the household against shocks and stresses, men were supportive in community resilience building process. As household headmen awarded women opportunity to host crop diversity demonstrations, practice farming as a business through sesame production in their pieces of land. In some cases men availed themselves when intensive labour was required for activities like constructing goat housing pens and granaries.

In addition, 4 men in 6 wards volunteered to be community resilience facilitators. Their roles included assisting Umguza RDC and NGOs in mobilizing community members and relaying key messages on resilience and climate change. Male community leaders also had a buy in to the project. As custodians of development initiatives at ward level, traditional leaders and ward councillors became advocates of resilience through encouraging men to participate in ISAL activities, encouraging women to take up livestock production projects and challenging systems that discriminate against women’s access to productive asserts. Through training on Linking Agriculture with Nutrition and Natural resources and GALS, attitude of men had been challenged toward recognition of women’s rights. That had resulted in shared decision making on household nutrition, crop and livestock production. Men played a key role in ensuring that project benefits were equally distributed so as to effectively respond to climate change and achieve sustainable development.

“I am very proud of my wife, she is very helpful, I am always away on business errands but the family never runs out of food. She is a great farmer”, said Mlamuli Ncube

The project resulted in the production of sound document that fed into Umguza RDC development plans and District Development Plans. In addition the project had campaigned for increased women involvement in development processes and sought to mainstream GESI in all Umguza RDC’s programmes.

By capacitating the community of Umguza RDC to be the custodians of resilience building activities, the project would be able continue. By further funding the RDC to build resilience infrastructure and championing these efforts would ensure they were owned by both communities and the RDC. Provision of links between the private sector and communities, and by ensuring that those links gave a win – win outcome for both, sustainability would very likely live long. The capacity of the private sector companies to engage small holder farmers to improve sustainability would be guaranteed.

One thought on “Zimbabwe: – Community Technology Development Organisation – Roll Back Climate Change”

zuka says:

am conducting a research on the contribution of community technology development organisation in Rushinga what is being done.

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