The effects of climate change in Zimbabwe have far more repurcussions on women in rural areas than their male counterparts or women in urban areas.
An investigation by TechnoMag has revealed that ‘Rural women in Zimbabwe are in constant contact with climate change more than their male counterparts or females in urban areas’ an expert in the fight against climate change suggested.
TechnoMag once covered Zimbabwe rugby export and legend David Pocock who retired as the Wallabies Captain to lead a new fight against climate change in that country.
The Gweru born Zimbabwean legend also is credited for efforts back home in fighting climate change and at his father’s rural farm like many farming areas, the surrounding areas need an urgent help toward women in fighting climate change.
In an exclusive interview with Environmental Management Agency (EMA) spokesperson Steady Kangata sometime, Mr Kangata revealed to this journalist that EMA believed, climate change, droughts and food shortages are having a greater toll on women than men in rural Zimbabwe, as seen in the rise of forced marriages during the 1992 year of extreme drought.
The same sentiments were shared by the Zimbabwe rugby legend export Pocock who growing up in a rural community affected by regular periods of drought, decided to dedicate his life to fighting climate change both in Zimbabwe and Australia were he was even arrested at some stage for chaining himself to a tractor in protest against a new coal mine in New South Wales Australia.
Like minded experts in the field believe empowering Zimbabwean women and increasing their financial independence with environmental campaigns will come in handy for the rural women folk hard hit more than any other by climate change in Zimbabwe.
Due to land degradation, women are finding it increasingly difficult to farm, feed their families or engage in meaningful forest-based businesses.
Zimbabwe Women, children and the elderly are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change in rural Zimbabwe, taking up a large share of the agricultural labor force and management of household nutrition. This became especially apparent in the years between 1950 and 2013, where the country recorded 22 years of drought, leaving millions in need of food aid.
In Domboshava , a rural area few kilometers east of Harare, the capital, close to were this scribe lives this journalist has witnessed rural females being married off so as to survive the effects of climate change.
The low rainfall, poor soils and severe dry spells during the 1992 drought hit all farmers hard.Growing up this scribe witnessed the government introduce a useless Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP) policy which saw him for the first time taste yellow maize meal better known as Kenya during that time when this scribe was only grade four at fitchlea Primary School in Kwekwe.Even in Kwekwe this scribe witnessed rural folk in Vernice Mine KweKwe not Vernice Kadoma which was close to mining areas like Globe and Phoenix mine, BD and Primrose Mine, and Indarama Mine.At Vernice Mine KweKwe rural, most subsistence farmers watched their maize crops and livestock die, with no reprieve in sight. In total, over a million cattle died of starvation that year through out the country when combined.
Five million people were in need of food aid, while children suffered from malnutrition and kwashiorkor.
In order for families to survive, daughters were increasingly married off to older men in exchange for grain or livestock, providing families with enough to eat. In other instances, women would face starker repercussions of drought and land by the manner labor is divided. While men, who are regarded as breadwinners, would relocate to urban areas in search of work, women, children and the elderly remained in rural areas to maintain fields and harvests increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Rural children in Zimbabwe are seen collecting wood everywhere across Zimbabwe even in some urban high density suburbs.Rural children spend many hours walking long distances to look for firewood since trees are scarce nearby.
Many from Vernice Rural Mine in Kwekwe and surrounding rurals during the 1991-1992 drought season, still bear the unpleasant memories of that fateful period.
One expert who remembers said “The first rains came in October 1991 for about two weeks and we planted our fields, but it did not rain until December,” “By that time, all crops had died. We planted again in December, and the same thing happened. The rainfall was so erratic that we planted three times that season.”
Growing up, this female expert who experienced the brunt of rural life said she accompanied her grandmother, to ferry firewood in the rurals.
Deforestation was caused by a frenzy for timber exports and firewood wiped the nearby woodlots, and she joined other girls her age and women in search of firewood and water, walking distances even further from their homes.
“Our day would start around 3:30 am, embarking on a trip of almost 10km to the mountains to look for firewood, and we had to be in class by 7:30 am,” she said.
Like in EMA’s Steady Kangata’s words in an interview with TechnoMag, Rural women indeed suffer more due to effects of climate change than their male counterparts in rurals or even female counterparts in urban areas.No wonder the likes of Pocock have a long-standing connection to nature, land and the environment.Pocock even revealed to this publication he co founded many charitable organizations, working in regenerative agriculture, conservation, climate advocacy, and food and water security in the same rural Zimbabwe which makes it’s women suffer more than their male counterparts in rurals or even their female counterparts in other areas.