Rural women fight climate change

In Hwedza`s Goneso ward, about 10 kilometers from St Marks Goneso Primary School off Harare Murambinda road is the Ruzawe garden project, a poverty buster,  which was initiated by the residents there in a bid to counter climate change.

By Best Masinire

The 2, 5 hectors project has forty members, 37 females and 3 males, who are dedicated to ensure food security-which is vehemently being threatened by the climate change hitting the region.

This garden initiative comes at a time when the nation is pushing an agenda for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goal number 13 of fighting climate change and goal number 1 of eradicating poverty.

“So far we are farming maize, tomatoes, onions, beans and carrots while fetching water from Ruzawe River which is a few meters from the garden.

“We give many thanks to Weman and Land Zimbabwe who have encouraged us to start the project and have helped us with its fencing,” said Headman Makanda who is also a member of the project.

Apart from the garden project, through the help from the Rural Women`s Assembly, people in Hwedza have adopted various means of reducing the impact of climate change like farming small grains and some drought tolerant crops.

Gondai Mature a Hwedza District agronomist says many people in the area have come to terms with the fact that climate change is a reality and are coming up with many initiatives to minimise the scourge.

“Some of the farmers are using the basin methods to preserve water while others are farming drought tolerant crops like the SIRDA maize 113 and the SC 5c301.

“Some have begun farming small grains like sorghum, rapoko and millet and are making money out of their produces,” he said.

Headman Pfumbi, however, says in their bid to fight hunger and poverty through the Ruzawe Garden project and farming small grains, they are facing various challenges.

“To water the garden we are using buckets and the basin method. We appeal to the government and other well wishers to assist us with an irrigation facility or a water pump,” he said.

Echoing Headman Pfumbi`s sentiments, Rongila Garanewako a Goneso ward villager who is farming small grains says they are also having challenges to do with a market.

“I am a small grains farmer and the greatest challenge we have is a market to sell our produces.  I also appeal to  government to also allocate land to women,” she said.

Speaking at the Rural Woman meeting recently held at Goneso Primary School, Provincial Head,  Tendai Nyamadzawo said empowering the rural woman is a step forward in arresting hunger.

“Women constitute 52% of the total population in Zimbabwe and the majority of these women live in rural areas where they are responsible for producing and processing food crops.

“This therefore entails that women are a major contributor to our economy whose backbone is agro based.

“It is therefore imperative that these women are extensively consulted when ever polices are drafted and afforded a chance and fair opportunity to access, control and own resources,” he said

Speaking on the sidelines of the Rural Women meeting, programs officer for Women and Land in Zimbabwe, Sharon Chipunza says her organization is appealing to the government to have a small grains policy which addresses issues to do with the market for small grains.

She said this will help in the empowering of women and also a step forward in the attainment of SDGs 1 and 13.