Zimbabwe – Kadoma Men and Women’s Involvement on Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Date: August 3, 2018
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Meteorological office defines climate change as a change in global or regional climate patterns as a result of deforestation, desertification and over exploitation of resources. The growth of cities comes with benefits on sustainable development and drawbacks on climate change. The climate change project seeks to educate the urban communities on the dangers of actions that may lead to climate change.

This project provides awareness on good practice, it seeks to educate urban residents on the dangers of deforestation and overexploitation of resources. The climate change project is a good practice because it helps the communities to understand that today’s actions have kickbacks. The project is quite innovative as it seeks to preserve (through involvement) an untamed future from today’s actions that may lead to disastrous climatic changes.

The aim of this project is to provide synthesis of available information on climate change, to educate the urban communities on the dangers of human input on climate change and to identify tools and practices relevant on climate change awareness campaigns. It also aims to understand the magnitude and patterns of climate change and its impact, including evaluating the physical, economic and social implications.

The intervention has however fostered partnerships coalition building to a greater extent. The project on climate change has seen the researcher working with Kadoma City Council authorities and exchanging important information on the impacts of climate change to urban development and the effects to sustainable development.

The government of Zimbabwe has allocated $9 277 027 to this project, and it has since reached 990 direct beneficiaries and 1150 indirect beneficiaries.

Challenges faced were the lack of resources. However authorities of a local school were approached for assistance, and they allowed the project members to use the WI-FI free of charge. They were also allowed to use the school’s printers and computers. Also transport limited the research to non-transport routes and the researcher had to walk to the mountains for first-hand information on quarry extraction activities.

Brainstorming was used as an interactive tool on monitoring and evaluation method on the 50/50 campaign. It allowed equal participation of both men and women without any favours because of a specific gender. Using focus groups was a necessary tool as it helps the researcher to focus only on the intended group but without selectivity. These groups help on spearheading the project.

Through this initiative women have been empowered on education on the climatic changes. Women were educated on the importance of the Ozone layer to all earth inhabitants including flora and fauna. They were also educated in that they can join mining with the knowledge that after the mining activities, they must consider the dangers of land degradation, emission of gases into the atmosphere. They were educated to carry out afforestation activities as was done by Kadoma City council by planting trees along the Rimuka-Town highway. Above all women were empowered with the knowledge as for them to be able to champion climate change projects.

Mrs F. Chaipa says, “The programme on women’s empowerment is a noble initiative that does not end at equipping the women only but goes a long way in equipping the nation at large. Now I know that I do not only have to use trees without replacing them hence my project to plant gum trees at my plot which will serve as both a climate initiative project and for long term financial benefits.”

Men have become very supportive on the organisation’s work. After distributing the pamphlets to men who are crashing quarry stones in the nearby Kadoma hills and kopjes, they acknowledged the consequences of land degradation, as this comes with deforestation. In as much as we need oxygen for survival, it is necessary to consider the significance and the beauty of trees since time immemorial. Some of the groups that work in the mountains crashing quarry stones for sale fulfilled the promise of filling up all the open holes. However, they failed to replace the uprooted trees due to financial constraints. If involved in tree growing programmed, they can participate willingly.

The campaign on climate change was more of a company of equal shareholding. It involved the youths, mainly form five and six boys and girls. It also involved men and women all participating as equal participants depending on assigned roles or duties. Girls were encouraged to work very hard so as to become Foresters, Meteorologists and town planners so as to be able to include climate issues in any development. Boys were put on awareness alert that in as much as money is good but getting money from activities that are anti-climate is uncalled for.

Household chores are not subjective, conflict can be avoided as children and parents reach a level of understanding one another and working together, this can be extended to issues of climate change and sustainable development. It’s everyone’s responsibility to safeguard the environment. Men used to go up to the mountains to cut trees which will later be carried home by ladies on heads, this was discussed and participants agreed that clean energy is the way to go as deforestation is avoided.

Women have powerful voices, as and when they gather or choose to participate on any project, change is assured hence the need to involve them from family level, this will automatically spread its wings to the community, region and nation at large. Gone are the days when girls and women waited for men to take up an initiative, the kickbacks of climate change are disastrous and have a potential to retard sustainable development.

The intervention on climate change has brought about a lot of changes to the community. The community has a perception of understanding the consequences of climate change as to some the memories of heatwave, floods and cyclones are still fresh in their memories. Sadly, some were victims. As and when they speak, they speak from experience, it sinks deeper in the hearts of their colleagues. The rise in urban population has left all trees as vulnerable as a hare in a lion’s den, everyone is tempted to release a cruel axe on any existing tree without replacement. This initiative encouraged urban residence to paint the city of Kadoma green by planting many trees. Some have complied and with more awareness, many people will come on board.

Cotton research Institute erected a fence around its boundaries as way of saving a thousand gum trees from deforestation and thereby protecting the natural wet lands. Some are into productive land usage such as gardening, this works for both land preservation and income generation for sustainable development. At community level, the demand for gas is a positive development as many people are now using gas in place of firewood. However, the Environmental Management Authority is doing its best but they need support groups so as to win the war against anti-climate activities. Carrying out the campaign to gold paneers is quite an uphill task as they do not trust anyone because of their illegal activities, in this case fliers and brochures were used.

There is notable and significant change on attitudes in as far as climate change is concerned. Deforestation is the major climate change activity in urban areas. Trees are needed for firewood at household level and in brick moulding, they need wood for burning their bricks in ovens. This is quite a lucrative business in urban areas but care must be taken to safeguard the environment.

As bricks are moulded, unfilled pits are left open on the ground leaving them vulnerable to erosion. With the awareness campaigns, some agreed to consider coal for burning their bricks in place of firewood. They also promised to fill up the pits they would have dug, some have done so and some have ignored the call. Some are now using gas at household level. Some are now using wetlands sustainably for growing vegetables for sale and some are planning to plant gum trees which when fully grown, can be sold for income. These are a few notable examples on the change of attitudes.

Awareness campaigns were more of a long far reaching arm. They may not have been carried out in all urban communities but to those the programme reached, change was noticed though not as quick as we would have expected. Teamwork is collective effort, when people work together to accomplish a goal, bulk effort is subdivided into units making it simple for people not to sweat for greater results. Kadoma City Council worked with other cities, they partnered on planting of different species of trees along City-Rimuka highway.

Each and every representative from another city brought a tree which they planted and left a placard with the name of the participating city as a signature. Budget allocation is a prerequisite which acts like fuel to any sustainable development project. Planting of trees is however the application of lessons learned. Use of Gas instead of firewood is the application of lessons learned.

The suggestion to use coal for burning bricks instead of firewood is an application of lessons learned. If people can now make sacrifices to take their vehicles for servicing, it’s a notable application towards the reduction of toxic emissions into the atmosphere. Sustainable development must therefore be spearheaded coherently with climate considerations in order to maintain average temperature which is conducive for human habitation which co-exist with flora, fauna and animals.

Climate change and sustainable development is on its own a justifiable act of good governance. Gas is an available resource, people must be encouraged to continue to use gas as the source of energy for cooking. Gas can also be used as the source of energy for refrigeration. Post 2016, more awareness campaigns must be carried out effectively from the urban to rural areas.

More officers must be involved in order to create an interactive approach towards sustainable development where those that exploit the environment are involved in order to come up with long term solutions. Land developers must also be encouraged to plant trees along the new streets in and around areas they would have developed. Council must acquire more refuse collection trucks in order to avoid dumping of waste at street corners and open spaces.

People must be encouraged to have bins at household bins and to be educated on the significance of classifying and separating waste. Burning of waste in streets is not good for the community and the atmosphere, the ozone layer must be protected from human actions. Women have a greater opportunity to play the leading role in the small communities because of their power to influence change.

Wetlands must be preserved so as to avoid construction of houses on wetlands, this has short term benefits that may seem quite sustainable but on the other hand, such activities have long term effects on climate change. Wetlands can be used sustainably for planting plants that require continuous supply of water like sugar cane. Gum trees can be planted for commercial purposes. Gardening projects can be established as group project under the management of youth, men or women.

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