Zimbabwe:Chegutu Municipality – Mitigating climate change by converting trash to cash through community and stakeholder involvement

Date: July 18, 2018
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The project sought to highlight the prevention of climate change through proper waste management with the involvement of men, women, youths and people with disabilities in waste recycling and reuse. It would reduce illegal dumping and burning of waste materials which result in the production carbon dioxide and monoxide into the ambient air. That would cause global warming due to not allowing the back fall of electromagnetic radiation from the earth to the tropo-pause.  The project was holistic in covering many aspects of climate change, sustainable development, inter and intra-generational gender equity between men, women, youths and disabled to the environment. The project also generated some financial benefits for easier livelihoods of the participants.

The objectives of the projects were to reduce the emission from energy consumption, reducing emission from incinerators, reducing methane from dumpsites. It also sought to increase community participation in waste management. Gender mainstreaming in climate change projects was of significance also. Some activities had to be done so as to achieve the above objectives. Waste had to be collected in residential, industrial, commercial and institutional areas. The collected waste materials had to be transformed and stored in particular ways before being collected by recycling companies. The by-products from the recycled waste could be floor polish, paraffin or other usable materials depending on what would be needed. Some monitoring and evaluations exercises would be on-going as the processes roll on.  Some workshops and training to be done periodically and some encouragement to women and youth to get involved. Business formations for such groups and individuals for their economic empowerment had to be done.

The project had 26 (52%) direct women beneficiaries and 24 (48%) direct men beneficiaries. The total number of direct beneficiaries was 50. Some 26 000 (53%) indirect women and 23 089 (47%) indirect men beneficiaries were reported in the project making it a total of 49 089 indirect beneficiaries. Online beneficiaries had 65 (65%) women and 35 (35%) men making a total of 100 beneficiaries. The total number of women beneficiaries was 26 091 (53%) and 23 148 (47%) men. The overall number of beneficiaries was 49 239 (53%). The project had a total budget of $5 500 allocated as follows: gender specification budget of $1 000 and gender in mainstream projects was allocated $4 500.

The project has a strong monitoring and evaluation framework. Observations, interviews, questionnaires and strategic monitoring checklists were used for monitoring the progress of the project. Regular assessments of the illegal dumpsites, weekly checks of waste to dumpsites, records keeping and progress reports made the project a success. The project had seen a number of women becoming successful entrepreneurs in waste by getting some money from recycling waste as a measure to reduce assumed powerful positions in the community. The trust that they currently had from the community was because of the honesty and hard work they put in the project. Empowering a woman is empowering a community that had been evidenced by the improvements of the community’s livelihoods standards which had risen.

Vandalism and theft cases were a common occurrence before the community members decided to have security guards. Even the perimeter fence and the roofing of the shed were not spared by the thieves who would come and steal during the night. The continuous breakdown of the pushcarts which were used to ferry the waste materials led the community members to plead with the council to assist with a truck. The truck was charged a very minimal fee to transport the waste materials. Luckyman Chiseva (50), Agribank, Chegutu branch bank manager, “One day I woke up early in the morning with my wife telling me that I was the one who to guard the waste storage premise that particular weekend.”. It showed that despite one’s professional status, he/she had a role to play in the community.  Communities applauded the intervention changes brought by the project. The community could then access lucrative services and educational services. Attitudes within the community changed through participatory approach of women, men and youths in combating climate change through waste management.

The project because of its transparent nature, team work, accountability, community and stakeholder participation. The operational costs were kept at a minimal rate for affordability purposes.
Community members are provided with workbooks that can be re-used and shared. Project results and lessons learned would be shared with authorities in an effort to have more participation of the community members. That enhanced lots of interest in the economic empowerment of women and youth.

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