Chivi women lament climate change effects

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By Evidence Chipadza

The effects of climate change continue to burden most women in Chivi.

According to the United Nations, 80% of people displaced by climate change are women, and such is the case of Mazarire Ward 13 Village Chivi.

Chivi is characterised by poor soils, frequent droughts and receives about 530mm of rainfall per annum. The area falls under the agricultural Region 5, which receives low rainfall, leading to depressed crop production.

Ward 13 resident Edina Marabi said climate change is now a burden on most women since they now walk long distances to look for water .

“Our area is very dry we used to have boreholes but it seems the water table is now very low and we have to walk long distances in search of water,we also grow small grains like sorghum, millet and rapoko,’’ said Marabi.

Marabi applauded the government on the new farming method; Pfumvudza a concept that is aimed at climate proofing agriculture by adopting conservation farming on small pieces of land.

“The new farming method is a great initiative, but it seems that women are the ones that are supposed to be in the fields, honestly men are not helping in the fields,” added Marabi.

Rural to Urban migration is also very common among women in Chivi due to prolonged drought ,Zarurai Mukumba is now a house maid in Zvishavane after she left her rural home .

“Life in the village has not been easy ,we used to depend much on agriculture but we are not producing anything in the fields. I migrated to Zvishavane where I am working as a maid to make ends meet , being a mother is not easy because every time you have to struggle to put food on the table,’’ said Mukumba.

In 2012 a local Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), World Vision assisted with solar powered irrigation and drilling of community boreholes but this is now a thing of the past since the water table is now very low for boreholes to produce water, and have since dried up.

The brewing of Mukumbi beer made from Amarula wild fruits/Mapfura has become a business opportunity for women in Chivi as it brings some income for survival. Vidia Chandinedza from ward 1 Mukotosi village expressed how she is benefitting from Amarulas.

“After noticing that bottled alcohol was expensive, I managed to make my own beer and everyone in the village comes to buy. The greatest challenge is some men take advantage, they do not pay after drinking this brew ,sometimes we end up fighting with these clients which is not safe at all,” narrated Chandinedza.

Women ‘s Coalition of Zimbabwe Chairperson Alice Maqata said most rural women depend on agriculture for their livelihood and the recurrent drought attributed to climate change has impacted them negatively.

“ Life has become difficult; some women are even leaving their children to take care of each other while they look for jobs to feed the family. Climate change has shattered hopes of most rural woman, single or married, to provide and protect the future of her children since they rely mostly on agriculture,” said Maqata.

Chivi Rural District Council (RDC) Inter Auditor Munyaradzi Chibwe narrated a sad story where women in Chivi are now engaging in gold panning activities in order to provide for their families.

“Women are major players in land use activities and household chores, in an arid area they walk long distances to fetch waterin order to maintain nutritional gardens. We have 2 rivers, Runde and Tugwi river which is where most women are going for illegal gold panning and they are exposed to harsh conditions, ”said Chibwe.

Meanwhile Perseverance Javangwe a Climate Reality Leader and a Climate Justice Zimbabwe (CJZ) said citizens must raise awareness by promoting an inconvenient truth about the climate crisis.

“Become a catalyst for change in your community, teach others about climate change, we can change and we are already doing that because in Zimbabwe many households now have solar panels. We are slowly transitioning and I am optimistic that Zimbabwe will soon become one of the renewable powerhouse countries in the world, “said Javangwe.

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