HomeOpinion & AnalysisOf climate change-induced disasters, human-wildlife conflicts

Of climate change-induced disasters, human-wildlife conflicts

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BY Ciasa
IT is of paramount importance to note that the operating space of civil society organisations (CSOs) is constantly changing and shrinking. CSOs are operating at a time the Parliament of Zimbabwe is still debating the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVO) Bill which is likely to further shrink the civic space if passed into law.

One cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the Bill opens for greater regulation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), allowing for targeting of those NGOs that may be perceived as anti-government, for even greater regulations, scrutiny, and oversight by the government, including interference with the internal governance of the NGOs. This situation therefore inhibits CSOs from freely conducting their activities since they can be targeted and risk being deregistered.

It is against this background that Citizens In Action Southern Africa (Ciasa) implemented recovery pathways from climate-induced disasters and human-wildlife conflicts programme in Chipinge district. Conflicts between wildlife and humans has been escalating in the district, with many clashes being occasionally reported.

On January 1, 2022, Shylet Muyambo (22) and her six-month-old baby were trampled to death by a stray elephant in Kushinga B village under Chief Musikavanhu, Chipinge. On April 27, 2022, five jumbos were seen roaming in the villages in Mt Selinda. Rangers from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority responded and one jumbo was killed to drive away the other elephants back to the reserve.

Ciasa, in partnership with Green Institute held a community- stakeholder engagement meeting on recovery pathways of climate-induced disasters and human wildlife conflicts at Mt Selinda High School on May 26, 2022. The organisations through this dialogue meeting sought to come up with tangible solutions to human wildlife conflicts in Chipinge district and to have insights of the local disaster responsiveness plan and build sectorial collaborative frameworks for the people of Chipinge.

One among other objectives of this activity was to map advocacy and a robust collaborative strategy that will help improve livelihoods of affected families, in as much as universal health coverage is concerned, disaster management and climate change mitigation strategies. Gathering data on the effectiveness of current disaster response, management and post disaster recovery was also another objective of the activity. The focus was also placed on capacitating communities on climate
change.

The meeting took the form of a guided discussion with key guiding presentations from Ciasa and Green Institute. The community-stakeholder engagement meeting targeted a maximum of 30 participants who were positively and purposefully selected with key stakeholders from the district development co-ordinator, Environment Management Agency, Forest Commission of Zimbabwe, Meteorological Services Department and traditional leaders. However, 28 participants managed to attend the meeting, 14 of the participants were females and 14 were males. Ciasa, through this meeting managed to foster relationships with the Chipinge district development co-ordinator office, Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and Metrological Services Department. The meeting was also a success as women and youth were capacitated on climate change. The activity also managed to improve engagement and collaboration between CIASA, Green Institute and Chipinge local authority.

Recommendations

  • CIASA was recommended to facilitate the setting up of social protection systems that are sensitive to disaster in Chipinge district and to capacitate community monitors who will be working together with Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, council and Environmental Management Agency.
  • District development coordinator’s office was recommended to work closely with the communities and departments like MET, Forestry Commission and EMA to disseminate information on disasters especially to the marginalised and peripheral communities which do not afford radios and where there is bad network connection.
  • Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe and EMA recommended civil society organisations and government to advocate for sustainable herd management of elephants in the country which have exceeded the containment capacity of reserves and protected
    areas.
  • District development coordinator recommended communities to create and maintain relations with wild animals since behind human-wildlife conflict there is human-wildlife relationship and he indicated this can only be achieved if organisations capacitate community members with skills and knowledge of what to do when they encounter wild animals.
  • Forestry Commission and EMA recommended Ciasa and Green Institute to change behavioural patterns of community members through awareness campaigns on human-wildlife relationships.
  • Ciasa is an organisation created by a group of women activists to make significant and positive impact in southern Africa

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