Changing lives, inspiring a greater future

Lazarus Sauti

Women in Wedza District, Mashonaland East Province of Zimbabwe have welcomed gardening projects established in some parts of the area to fight hunger and lift families from the jaws of poverty.

The gardening projects come at a time when Zimbabwe and other countries in southern Africa are grappling food challenges caused by El Nino-induced drought.

The El Nino-induced drought, notes the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), has devastated crops as well as livestock, dried up sources of livelihoods, and left an estimated four million people in need of assistance.

As a result, most villagers in Zimbabwe are depending on food handouts from the government and non-governmental organisations.

Conversely, to counter drought and other problems in Wedza, Women and Land in Zimbabwe, working with Rural Women’s Assembly in Zimbabwe, empowered women to establish nutritious gardening projects.

One such initiative to enable villagers to be self-reliant as well as increase their food security is the 2.5 hectares Ruzave gardening project which started last year and boasts 40 members of which 37 are females and three are males.

“We used to face food accessibility and availability challenges here in Goneso, but it is the thing of the past now thanks to Women and Land in Zimbabwe which supported us to start gardening projects to sustain our livelihoods,” says beneficiary Blessing Mombeyarara (47). “We are growing crops such as beans, carrots, tomatoes and onions.”

She says the organisation supported women in Goneso and Chigondo with poles and fencing materials to establish the Ruzave Irrigation Project.

“On top of that, we were urged to grow small grains as well as drought tolerant crops like rapoko, sorghum and finger millet as an avenue to reduce the impact of climate change,” Mombeyarara adds.

Chikavhanga village head, Mbasi Chikavhanga (54), also says villagers used to face serious challenges such as lack of nutritious food, but Women and Land in Zimbabwe, through its various activities, is enhancing the food and livelihood security of women and their families in many ways.

“We started this project last year when we were having serious problems in securing nutritious foods for our families, but Women and Land in Zimbabwe supported us to start nutritious gardens and lift our families from abject poverty,” he adds.

Chikavhanga also says the organisation’s agro- and non-agro trainings empowered villagers with life skills that help increase their crop production as well as transform their lives.

Chipo Manyere (47) from Pfumbi village says trainings and workshops conducted by Women and Land in Zimbabwe helped most women to practice conservation farming.

“Capacity-building trainings changed our ways of thinking. We realised that we could make a living through sustainable land use hence the birth of Ruzave Irrigation Project,” she adds.

Manyere, however, begs other organisation to support them with seeds, irrigation and facilitation facilities.

“We are buying our seeds and because of poverty, it is difficult for most of us. Also, we are using 20-litres buckets to fetch water from Ruzave River basins and it is very taxing.

“Our plea is, therefore, for other organisations to support us with seeds and irrigation materials such as water holding tanks and pipes to lessen our burdens,” she says.

Manyere adds, “We don’t have toilet facilities and our hope is to have these facilities for men and women.”

Hwedza District agronomist, Gondai Matare, says Goneso is a dry area and the establishment of Ruzave Irrigation Project instilled confidence in women.

“The project instilled confidence in women. Interestingly, it is not only creating employment, but also helping families to increase their household food as well as sell surplus and buy basic products,” he says.

Matare adds that in line with Sustainable Development Goal 15.3, Women and Land in Zimbabwe is also promoting conservation agriculture.

“Women and Land in Zimbabwe is addressing the issue of soil fertility simply by promoting conservation agriculture as well as encouraging women to use locally available resources such as leaf litter, livestock/kraal manure and anthill soil,” he says.

Sharon Chipunza of Women and Land in Zimbabwe says gardening projects provide food safety nets for families and her organisation takes pride in helping villagers not only in Wedza, but in other areas such as Makoni (Rusape and Chiware), Gwanda (Sessombi), Gweru, Chinhoyi, Bubi and Gutu to preserve their environment and also helping in food security.

“We are happy as Women and Land in Zimbabwe that we managed to help these villagers in terms of food security,” she says.

“On our part, we also provided fencing materials and stopped villagers from cutting down trees.”

Significantly, Chipunza says the gardening projects in Goneso, Chigondo and other rural areas in the country are uniting villagers by bringing women together to share their challenges, accomplishments as well as solutions.

“Through these projects, we are changing lives and inspiring a greater future for women not only in Wedza, but in most parts of the country.

“We are urging them to form study circles where six to 15 people meet regularly to learn and share information as well as experiences about a topic or subject that is of interest to them.

“In these study circles, work is built around the participants’ search for knowledge according to their own needs and interests.”

Mashonaland-East Provincial head, Tendai Nyamadzawo, says the introduction of gardening projects as well as study circles in Goneso and Chigondo helped a lot.

“Women are now able to identify the problems they have and it is now easier for them to plan and share ideas,” he says, adding that through study circles, women also learn about their rights, how to till land as well as how to conserve the environment.

Wedza women fight malnutrition

Lazarus Sauti

Until last year, the primary crop in villages within and across Wedza District in the province of Mashonaland East was maize.

But now, farmers, especially women in the district, grow other crops such as potatoes, onions, beans, carrots and tomatoes thanks to nutritious gardens introduced and supported by Women and Land in Zimbabwe.

“Most people used to grow only maize, but we are now producing nutritious crops like potatoes, beans and tomatoes thanks to nutritious gardens introduced by Women and Land in Zimbabwe,” says Chipo Manyere (47) from Pfumbi village.

She adds that the organisation supported the establishment of a 2,5 hectare Ruzave gardening project, which consists of 40 members 37 of whom are females whilst three are males, after realising that the nutritional status of children under five years of age was extremely poor due to biting poverty and food insecurity.

True to her assertions, one in every three children in Wedza and other parts of Zimbabwe is chronically malnourished and 25 percent of all deaths of children under the age of five are attributed to malnutrition, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), 2014.

Further, in 2015, the Zimbabwe Vulnerable Assessment Committee (Zimvac) found that up to 36 percent of children have stunted growth, which experts say has not only affected them physically, but has also slowed their mental growth because of poor diets.

Zimbabwe, like other countries in southern Africa, is suffering from the El Nino-¬induced drought that has devastated crops and livestock.

The drought has left an estimated four million people, including 1.9 million children, in need of assistance, says the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

“An estimated 90 000 children will require treatment for malnutrition,” adds Unicef.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes malnutrition is a critical risk factor in Africa as it is estimated to contribute to more than one third of all child deaths, although it is rarely listed as the direct cause.

Lack of access to highly nutritious food, affirms the WHO, especially in the present context of rising food prices and acute food shortages, is a common cause of malnutrition.

The UN public health agency adds; “Poor feeding practices, such as inadequate breastfeeding, offering the wrong foods, and not ensuring that the child gets enough nutritious food, also contribute to malnutrition.”

Ruzave gardening project beneficiary and Chikavhanga village head, Mbasi Chikavhanga (54), says malnutrition puts children in his area at a greater risk of dying from common infections.

To fight malnutrition and save children under the age of five in the country, particularly Hwedza District, Women and Land in Zimbabwe supported women in Goneso and Chigondo with poles and fencing materials to start nutritious garden projects.

“Stunting and under¬nutrition were some of the critical nutritional problems that were affecting many people in Wedza and other rural areas such as Makoni (Rusape and Chiware), Gwanda (Sessombi), Gweru, Chinhoyi, Bubi and Gutu.

“More so, stunting prevalence were high due to lack of diversity when it comes to food production and behavioural change problems, but we are helping women with nutrition¬ sensitive agriculture which puts dietary diversity and nutritionally rich foods in the same basket and at the heart of overcoming malnutrition,” says Women and Land in Zimbabwe Programme Officer, Sharon Chipunza.

Mashonaland East provincial head, Tendai Nyamadzawo, applauds Women and Land in Zimbabwe for empowering women in his area with resources and information on how to grow nutritious crops to fight malnutrition.

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

“Accordingly, Women and Land in Zimbabwe should be applauded for training and showing women in Wedza that it is possible to grow food without the use of harmful pesticides,” he adds.

Nyamadzawo also says the gardening projects go a long way in ending poverty in all its forms (SDG1), alleviating hunger as well as achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture (SDG2) and ensuring health lives and promoting the well being for all (SDG3) not only in Wedza, but in other rural areas in the country, he says.

He adds that Women and Land in Zimbabwe is complementing government’s efforts in materialising the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-¬Economic Transformation (Zim¬Asset), especially the cluster on Food and Security.

“I am pleased to notice that Women and Land in Zimbabwe has actually exploited the benefits of partnership in line with Zim¬Asset. This is demonstrated by the establishment of two gardens in the District as well as support of various income generating projects,” he says.

Expressing gratitude to Women and Land in Zimbabwe for valuing the poor, less privileged and disadvantaged in the communities, Hwedza District agronomist, Gondai Matare pleads with other organisation to support Women and Land in Zimbabwe in its bid to empower rural women.

“Ruzave gardening project beneficiaries are using buckets to fetch water from Ruzave River and water their gardens. I am therefore pleading with other organisations to support these women with irrigation systems so as to lessen their burden,” he sums up.

Commitment: Key to Ending Trafficking in Persons (TiPs)

Lazarus Sauti

Most families in Ngwazani, a remote village in Buhera North District, cannot afford a decent meal per day, thanks to gripping poverty and drought induced by the El Nino phenomenon. The Zimbabwe Poverty Atlas (2015) testifies that poverty in the country is mainly a rural phenomenon and the overall poverty prevalence in Buhera was 78 percent. Buhera generally receives low amounts of rainfall, hence all districts in Buhera grapple with high poverty prevalence exceeding 65 percent. To development partners, people living in Buhera need assistance as soon as possible, but to human traffickers, Buhera is a good example of a lucrative source of cheap labour. Buhera represents the type of areas likely to be gripped by the problem of human trafficking.

Poverty and the general economic crisis in the country have made Zimbabweans more vulnerable to Trafficking in Persons (TiPs). Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines TiPs as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” Zimbabwe is one country that is badly affected by TiPs, with about 99 600 estimated victims, as per the latest Global Slavery Index. The index, which also examined practices such as forced labour, human trafficking, debt bondage, child exploitation and forced marriage, ranked the country at number five.

Sadly, girls and women are the most vulnerable when it comes to this serious violation of human rights and subversion of societal values. In an interview with the Herald, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Zimbabwe, Dr David Okello, said human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, the children and weak people around the world for different purposes including forced labour, physical and psychological abuse. The Soroptimist, a global volunteer organisation working to improve the lives of women and girls through programmes leading to social and economic empowerment, also notes that women and girls are most vulnerable and typically trafficked into the commercial sex industry.

Co-ordinated and consistent measures key
Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFC) director, Virginia Muwanigwa, conversely, believes harmonised and consistent measures play important roles in curbing TiPs as well as improve the lives of girls and women and local communities in Zimbabwe and throughout the world. The United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally and this approximate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. ILO added that while it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, it is noted, the estimate implies that currently there are millions of human trafficking victims in the world.

To address this scourge, the United Nations General Assembly has put in place a Global Plan of Action to combat Trafficking in Persons, urging governments worldwide to take “co-ordinated and consistent measures to defeat the bane”. The plan also calls for integrating the fight against TiPs into the UN’s broader programmes in order to boost development as well as strengthen security worldwide.

In response to this global call, Zimbabwe launched its Trafficking in Persons National Plan of Action on July 26, 2016 to operationalise the Trafficking in Persons Act which was passed in 2014 to fight against human trafficking in the country. The plan is underpinned by the 4Ps – Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership – and will be implemented over two years from 2016 to 2018. It prioritises strengthening tools for the identification of victims of trafficking, which is the baseline for measuring an effective response.

At the launch of the Trafficking in Persons National Plan of Action, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa noted that Zimbabwe is a source and transit country for human trafficking. “The launch of the TiPs National Plan of Action demonstrates the government’s commitment to fight human trafficking and to protect its citizens, especially children and women who are most at risk of trafficking,” he said.

Advocacy and awareness building among the public are essential
Journalist and head of Journalism at Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), Gibson Nyikadzino, says TiPs is under-reported, and when reported, the quality is very low. He, therefore, urges the media to support the government and other stakeholders in combating this modern slavery. “The media, as the voice of the voiceless, is undoubtedly one of the key partners in raising awareness and combating TiPs, a ‘cancer’ stalling socio-economic development,” he says. “Accordingly, it is important that the media is able to clearly interpret and delineate TiPs against smuggling of migrants, and report accurate information, always mindful of fundamental human rights as well as victim sensitivity.”

Speaking during the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Training of Trainers for Media Practitioners on TiP workshop held in Botswana in June 2016, SADC Programme Officer responsible for research, information and documentation under the programme that deals with TiP issues, Mukundi Mutasa, also said media should be committed to raise awareness on trafficking so that “we prevent TIPs from ever happening or even spiralling out of control.”

Address root causes
More commitment is needed in tackling poverty, unemployment, lack of social security, gender inequality, conflict and violence – the root causes of human trafficking. In one of his recent media instalments, Dr David Okello described TiPs as a ‘parasitic crime’ and added that it feeds on vulnerability, thrives on times of uncertainty and profits from inaction. He also said human traffickers as well as migrant smugglers are taking advantage of misery to make a profit and criminals prey on people in need and without support, and they see migrants, especially children, as easy targets for exploitation, violence and abuse. Therefore, the essential strategy would be for the government to propagate economic development, fair trade, education of the poor rural dwellers and to implement sustainable pro-poor policies that add value to the economy and reduce poverty among citizens.

A strong legal basis needed
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on the occasion of the 2016 UN World Day against Trafficking in Person, called every nation to overcome TiPs by supporting and protecting victims while prosecuting the criminals. “On the World Day against TiPs, let us resolve to act as one in the name of justice and dignity for all,” he said, urging all countries to establish a strong legal basis for action against human trafficking. Ki-moon also encouraged all states to tighten border controls and adopt and implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its protocol on human trafficking as well as all core international human rights instruments.

Frankly, if Zimbabwe and other countries truly want to end TiPs, the governments should be committed to developing and engaging their communities. Healing is in communities and intervening TIPs needs to start before people become victims. Communities should be conscious that trafficking does not only occur across borders, but also happens inside a country. Further, every member of community should be committed to end TiPs since it is stalling socio-economic transformation – HerZimbabwe.

ACCZ fights child marriages, GBV

Lazarus Sauti

The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) is organising a youth and women conference to be held in October at Masuka Christian High School in Tynwald, Harare in a bid to curb early marriages as well as gender-based violence.

The event, under the theme “The Role of The Church in Shifting the Paradigm on Youth and Women Engagement in Peace Building and Development”, is expected to attract over 5 000 apostolic youth and women drawn from all provinces.

Addressing journalist at the New Ambassador Hotel in Harare on Friday, ACCZ Gender and Child Care chairperson, Bishop Busani Sibanda, said the purpose-in-life of the youths and women conference is to teach apostolic members to guard against child marriages and gender-based violence.

He also said the youth and women constitute the majority of people in ACCZ and as such, the Gender and Childcare Unit is mandated with the task of creating a conducive environment that champions their development.

“Based on the large demographic profile under our organisation, we discovered that the majority of people in the affiliate member churches are women, the youths and children.

“Cognisant to this large demographic dividend, we established the Gender and Child Care as a unit under ACCZ and the unit is mandated with the task of creating an enabling environment that champions the development of women, children and the youths,” Bishop Sibanda said.

He also said the unit constantly strives to scout for solutions that empower, protect and champion the well-being of women, children and the youths since they are vulnerable to poverty and other social vices in churches as well as mainstream society.

To foster child development, Bishop Sibanda added, the unit successfully conducted anti-child marriages crusade under the theme “Zero Tolerance to Child Marriages, Iyi Ndiyo Sungano YaVapositori”.

“The campaign was conducted based on the hypothesis “Engage to Change Behaviour and Perception” and hinged on the premise that if people know more about the causes and effects of child marriages to families, churched as well as the nation, they can do more to eradicate this practice, creating resilient, empowered and progresses communities,” he added.

Bishop Sibanda also said: “As a Christian-oriented organisation, ACCZ believes in dialogue as a remedy to a lot of problems hence the upcoming conference is consciously tailored to allow interaction between males and females fostering gender equity.

“The conference also presents stakeholders with the unique opportunity to interact with the large number of women and young people so that they can discuss various issues in the areas of women and youth empowerment, education, business, health issues, gender-based issues and child marriages.”

Street kids, OVCs empowered

Lazarus Sauti

A local private voluntary organisation in Harare, Justice Mish Humanitarian Aid (JMHA), is taking bold steps in helping street kids as well as orphans in Harare, Shamva and Chinhoyi.

The organisation, founded by Prophet Justice Mish of the House of All Nations (HOAN) Christ Church, has embarked on a humanitarian assistance scheme meant to empower street kids and orphans.

In an interview with 263chat, JMHA spokesperson, Abel Mavura, says his organisation had researched and identified the needs of beneficiaries before providing them with food and clothing materials.

“We carried our research and identified that some street kids and OVCs in Harare, Chinhoyi and Shamva are living in abject poverty due to circumstances beyond their control,” he says.

“This triggered JMHA not to hide its head in the sand, but to help the needy, especially street children and orphans to lift them from abject poverty.”

Mavura adds that the aim is not only to empower street kids and orphans, but to please God

“Hebrews 13:16 encourages us not to neglect to do go. It also urges us to share what we have for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

“When the Bible talks about helping the needy and pleasing God, we have to act as it is important,” he says.

Mavura also says the mandate of the church is to be the salt of the Earth and the House of All Nations, therefore, is simply fulfilling this obligation.

He adds that in line with Prophet Mish’s vision to empower streets kids and OVCs in the country, JMHA will be adopting some street kids and rehabilitate them.

“Death of parents, poverty and family breakdown are some of the factors pushing many children onto the streets.

“Sadly, these children fall prey to people who exploit them.

“Hence our objective to assist some of them, especially those with potential with school fees as well as provide medication to those in need,” Mavura says.

He also stresses that children need to grow within a community and that the involvement of the community is vital in helping the traumatised children to regain their confidence.

The Justice Mish Humanitarian Aid project started in 2014 in response to the increasing numbers of street children and orphans in the country and more than 50 street kids in Harare and Chinhoyi have so far benefitted from this programme.

The organisation also donated some goodies in Shamva recently to orphans and other vulnerable children.

Policy to solve energy crisis

Lazarus Sauti

More than 60 percent of households in Zimbabwe do not have access to electricity, says Partson Mbiriri, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Power and Development.

Opening the National Dialogue for a consumer driven renewable energy policy hosted by Ruzivo Trust at Holiday Inn, Harare recently, Mbiriri added that these people use candles, kerosene, maize cobs and wood for heating and lighting.

“60 percent of households in Zimbabwe do not have access to electricity and they depend on wood, kerosene and diesel-powered system for heating, lighting and essential food processing tasks such as milling grain,” he said.

Mbiriri, however, said the country is in the process of crafting a renewable energy policy to close the gap.

He added that the policy will provide the sector with guidelines as well as an avenue for creating a more conducive environment for attracting investment.

He also said the policy will facilitate the adoption of a green economy in the sector as well as enhance socio-economic development in the country.

“We are crafting a renewable energy policy after realising that the availability of sustainable, clean and renewable sources of energy is an essential driver for economic expansions,” he said.

Mbiriri also said the national dialogue for a consumer driven renewable energy policy is significant as it helps Zimbabweans to exchange ideas on issues that hinder access to energy.

Once we have this dialogue, he added, it is of paramount importance that we should not have parallel processes.

“In fact, we should converge to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all as provided by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7,” said Mbiriri.

He also said the country needs reliable data to come up with a good policy that will not only address energy needs in the country, but also enhance local, regional and international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy and technologies, including renewable energy, energy efficiency as well as advanced and cleaner fossil fuel technologies.

Further, Mbiriri urged all stakeholders in the energy fraternity to focus on profiling appropriate solutions to all challenges inhibiting the adoption of renewable energy in the country.

“It is high time stakeholders in the energy fraternity support the government in addressing the energy crisis in the country,” he said. “The government is the biggest stakeholder, but it should not do everything. Other players should support and reinforce its efforts.”

Clean energy technologies tonic to development

Lazarus Sauti

Most Africans are dependent on solid fuels such as wood, coal, crop residue/waste and cattle dung to prepare daily meals on traditional mud stoves or open fires due to lack of electricity.

This lack of access to electricity is holding back economic expansion on the continent.

“Only about a third of the population have access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in some countries, like Zambia, only 5 percent of rural and 26 percent of the urban population have electricity,” says expert in distributed renewable energy and Sierra Leone Power for All campaign director, Aminata Dumbuya.

She adds that in Sierra Leone, less than 12 percent of people in the country’s cities have access to electricity, while in rural areas, where most people live, the figure is less than 1 percent.

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MISC) 2014 also notes that more than 70 percent of households in Zimbabwe still rely on solid fuels as their primary cooking and heating energy sources.

Such inefficient cooking and heating practices produce high levels of household (indoor) air pollution which includes a range of health damaging pollutants such as fine particles and carbon monoxide.

In poorly ventilated dwellings, wisps of smoke in and around the home can exceed acceptable levels for fine particles 100-fold, and this increases the risk of pneumonia in children as well as chronic bronchitis and other diseases in women.

“Exposure is particularly high among women and young children because they spend most time near the domestic hearth,” says Engineer Oswell Chakwanda. “Sadly, household pollution is killing more people every year than Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria combined.”

He also says the smoke springing during cooking and heating procedures consists of short-lived, but high impact climate change agents like black carbon which are light-absorbing carbon particles.

“These short-lived, but high impact climate change agents are more intoxicating in the short-term than greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane,” adds Engineer Chakwanda.

However, energy and climate experts believe embracing and popularising clean energy technologies related to recycling and renewable energy (wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower and biofuels) among rural populations is the most effective way to reduce negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements over and above the sustainable use of resources.

“The adoption and popularisation of clean energy technologies not only lower the risk of pneumonia in children and chronic bronchitis and other ailments in women, but are critical in attaining universal energy access in a sustainable way,” says ZERO Regional Environment Organisation Director, Shephard Zvigadza.

Engineer Chakwanda adds that the provision of clean energy sources propagates inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development in Zimbabwe and other developing nations.

“The provision of clean energy technologies is an enabler to health, education and agriculture. It provides a strategic alternative to conventional energy sources, considering the impacts of climate change and pressures of increased energy demand,” he says.

Engineer Chakwanda urges policy makers in Zimbabwe to take a cue from China, Japan and United States in switching to clean energy technologies.

“China, the world’s biggest single investor in clean energy technologies, installed 11 gigawatts of solar, and there are plans in the works for just as much this year,” he says. “China is also pouring money into cleaner coal – a form of clean technology that many greens disdain, but that could be enormously beneficial.”

Fiona Mundonga of Ruzivo Trust, a research-based organisation that undertakes issues to do with clean energy technologies, also says renewable energies such as solar and wind power are accessible, affordable, reliable, sustainable and timely and can effectively help address energy requirements such as lighting.

“Solar household systems, which are common in both urban and rural areas, for instance, help in tackling energy requirements as far as lighting and other utilities are concerned,” she adds.

Chiedza Mazaiwana, Power for All Zimbabwe Campaign leader, believes there must be a shift in the acceptance of renewable power if the country is to attain energy access in line with Sustainable Development Goal 7 which seeks to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.”

Target 1 of SDG7 endeavours “by 2030, to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services” while target 2 of the same goal makes an efforts “to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030.”

ZERO Regional Environment Organisation Project Officer, Wellington Madumira, says the media should in the switch to these technologies.

“By reporting on clean energy issues, the media empowers communities to participate in energy debates as well as discussions that affect them,” he says.
“Media reports enable people to have a say in the design, implementation as well as impact assessment of sustainable energy projects.”

However, Renewable Energy Association of Zimbabwe (REAZ) Secretary, Simba Sibanda, says clean energy technologies can close Zimbabwe’s energy access gap, but their use as well as promotion is still limited in the country.

“The uptake of wind and solar is still limited in the country and this is so because energy service providers are faced with serious problems,” he adds, urging all stakeholders in the energy sector to join hands and collectively work together for the common cause of creating a supportive framework for the rapid expansion and integration of clean energy sources into the national energy plan.