RWA Zimbabwe: Raising Climate Change awareness through road shows campaigns

Despite their vulnerability, rural women are not only seen as victims of climate change but also regarded as active and effective agents and promoters of adaptation and mitigation. Women have long developed knowledge and skills related to water harvesting, food preservation, and natural resources management. In addition, elderly women inherit knowledge and expertise to adapt and mitigate impacts of climate change and this knowledge has been passed on from one generation to another.

It is against this backdrop that RWA Zimbabwe conducted Roadshow campaigns to continue raising awareness on climate change in three districts (Bubi, Shurugwi and Gweru). The campaigns targeted mostly women as their involvement is twofold; one as the most affected ones and the other as being the agents and promoters of climate change adaptation.  Bubi, one of the selected districts is amongst the hardest hit as it lies in agroecological regional 5 which receives very low rainfall and experiences high temperatures. RWA Zimbabwe through Women and Land in Zimbabwe is currently running a project titled: Strengthening Women’s Agency and Advocacy for Inclusive Environmental Governance and Resilience. Hence the campaigns were conducted to continue raising awareness on climate change, building women’s resilience and as well building   women’s capacity to demand climate justice.

The roadshows were conducted from 11th-13th July and targeted people from all age’s groups but particularly young and elderly women. The campaigns also gave an opportunity for exchange of knowledge between young and elderly people since the elderly people are regarded as pools of wisdom of indigenous knowledge which is also of importance for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The campaigns were running under hashtags messages which included #women4climatejustice, #letsendclimatechangenow and #Pollutersmustpay.

In Zimbabwe, about 59% of rural women work in communal lands and so they are most affected by changes in climate since they rely on rainfall for their livelihoods and domestic use. Therefore, it is important for them to be continuously equipped with knowledge on best mitigation and adaptation strategies so that keep abreast and coping in this changing climate era. Campaigns messages were also sent through songs, poems, testimonies, and speeches from RWA leaders and representatives from the line ministries (Ministry of Women Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture). 

The campaigns also sensitised people on best agroecological practices as way of saving the environment and biodiversity. Use of organic liquid fertilisers and traditional ways of controlling pests and disease, minimum tillage and soil and moisture conservation methods were other mitigation strategies that shared were with women during the campaign. Members were encouraged to grow drought resistant crops and setup seed banks for storing of traditional seeds varieties. This is connection with RWA mantra: Women are the guardians of land, life, and seeds, hence the need to care for nature. And again, women represent a high percentage of poor communities that are highly dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood.

During the campaigns some few selected women were given opportunity to share their experiences Women testified that climate change was an added stressor to the burdens women already carry. One RWA women was quoted saying “as women we are suffering due to climate change, climate change impacts have added more burden on us, we used to have perennial sources of water but now our wells and boreholes a are drying up quickly. We are now travelling a lot of distances to fetch drinking water therefore we demand Climate justice”. In the end RWA Women appreciated the campaigns as they provided them with safe spaces for learning and sharing climate change experiences. A platform for exchange of knowledge between the elderly and young women was also created. RWA Zimbabwe will continue raising awareness on climate change mitigation and adaptation as well equipping women with knowledge so that they continue demanding climate justice and become full agency of change.

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