THE Midlands State University (MSU) will in September hold a multi-disciplinary conference dubbed Dams, Society and the Environment in Zimbabwe, which seeks to bring scholars to discuss the impact of water bodies on community development.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
In a statement, MSU said although dams provide benefits like hydroelectric power, production of food, bio-fuels and urban growth, they can affect the livelihoods of communities when not planned and implemented in a participatory way.
“However, the major paradox of big dams such as Kariba, Osborne and Tokwe-Mukosi is that they do not only alter geographies and expose people to new disease ecologies, but disrupt daily routines, severe social networks and mostly impair livelihoods through displacements of communities without adequate compensations and post-relocation structures,” the higher learning institute said.
“Displaced communities lose power and agency over their lives. This is mainly because dams are not planned and implemented in a more participatory way, they are exclusively established by national governments and international funding partners for ‘public purpose’ and ‘national interest’ imperatives.”
According to MSU other topics to be explored include dams in Africa and the paradoxes of modernity, dams and identity, public health impacts of big dams/new disease ecologies, post-relocation livelihoods, dams and local community empowerment, gender, dams and development, culture, water and displacements as well as dams and the spirituality of relocation.