As we draw closer to this year’s elections, it is important that we put in place a government that prioritises the environment and climate change. The effects of climate change are now being felt all over the country, some regions more than others but effects are widespread. For those who are poor and vulnerable it is a case of a double headed problem, break and butter issues and climate change becoming a daily problem. In this issue we have articles that discuss how climate change is affecting the daily lives of regular people in both rural and in urban areas.
We have 3 articles by Joy Mlambo from the UNDP, Joy has been a regular contributor to the paper since the first issue in 2016. In her 1st article Joy discusses how climate change is affecting people with disabilities, especially those with mobility issues and albinism. In Zimbabwe we are still very far in terms of catering for people with disabilities as compared to the western countries. Our infrastructure, transport system and service providers do not cater enough for people with disabilities, so it is a double-edged sword with climate change affecting everyone especially the poor, of which most disabled are. In her next article Joy discusses the National Adoption Plan (NAP) and the strategies suitable for the various areas and sectors given the specific nature of the climate change effects. An example would be the growing of small grain crops in areas affected by low rainfall where maize is failing. Joy reiterates that climate change should be integrated into plans, policy, budget and activities.
The NAP is already being implemented through stocktaking which is consultations and climate change assessments, this is being done using local authorities. In relation to Joy’s 1st article, marginalised people are also being consulted. In the 3rd article Joy discusses how climate change is affecting urban areas and how the adoption strategies in these areas should be tackled. She goes on to list measures that can help cities cope with the different climate change impacts.
Food security is becoming a major issue in Zimbabwe and new ways to bolster should be considered. Nyasha Mupaso is a mushroom farmer who talks about mushroom farming to increase food security in Zimbabwe. He explains how mushrooms can be grown using agricultural and industrial waste and that arable land is not relevant for growing mushrooms, they can grow anywhere. Baynham Goredema, SustainZim staff, in his article showcases the different indigenous fruits that are found in Zimbabwe. Some of these wild fruits can be harvested but as the population increases habitat is lost, trees and plants are cut down to make way for settlements. As the generational gap increases between the old and the young, rural to urban migration, indigenous knowledge of wild foods is not being passed down and is lost. The collection and harvesting of wild foods can help bolter food security as well as lead the population back to traditional, healthier forms of food. Organisations like Bio Innovations Zimbabwe (BIZ) are doing their best to bring indigenous foods to the forefront by; buying them from locals and allowing for income to be generated to feed their families. This is the case in an article by Tracy Maphumo who talks about the ‘resurrecting bush’, which is providing income for families in dry areas where maize does not grow as well due to the low rainfall. The twigs are used to make a tea with medicinal purposes explained in the article, the leaves are also used for different purposes including the treatment of different ailments and other traditional medicines. BIZ currently trains local farmers on business opportunities using local resources.
Archie Mathibela discusses the key to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic development being a sustainable communication strategy. He talks about the essential link between the citizens and the government to help achieve the national vision and to exploit the emerging opportunities. He suggests steps for the current government to take to ensure the strategy is effective. In the last article Nevson Mpofu, a regular contributor to the paper, discusses the lack of; climate finance, political will and social cohesion in Africa to fight climate change.
Yet again I would like to thank our contributors of content, it is them who make this paper possible and relevant. I would also like to thank UNDP for funding this specific issue, it will therefore be available in print for those who would like copies. Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com and arrangements can be made to distribute to you. As we head into the elections please remember that the environment is also important, without it we would seize to exit, so please vote for the political party and leaders that you feel are best places to help the people as well as the environment.