Sally Nyakanyanga, an independent journalist based in Zimbabwe, profiles the positive impact of rural electrification on women’s healthcare in the town of Masvingo, Zimbabwe. Oxfam Zimbabwe helped install a water pump and solar system at the Mazuru clinic, which has enabled better vaccine storage, uninterrupted medical technology use, and basic lighting. Juliet Chasamuka is among thousands of Mupandawana women who can now depend on reliable prenatal and postnatal care through energy access. Photo credit: Sally Nyakanyanga
In Chiware, Zimbabwe, farmer Chengetai Zonke has been forced to reduce her maize crop due to the climate change induced natural disasters creating unpredictable weather patterns. Like many other women in Zimbabwe, Zonke’s household’s livelihood depends on her farming and household work. Farmers across Zimbabwe have been forced to reevaluate their crop growing methods. Zonke has begun cultivating small-grain seeds to grow crops that are easier to care for and pay more, but she is still apprehensive about the future of women farmers amidst climate change. Photo Credit: Tonderayi Mukeredzi/IRIN
Melanie Chiponda started as an activist the day the police stopped the bus she was traveling in and forced all the women to get naked in order to search them. Since then, she has been harassed several times by state agents, but it didn’t prevent her from fighting the oil and mining interests that are destroying the local ecosystem and displacing families. On the contrary, Melanie has bravely been working in the defense of women’s right to land. Photo credit: Global Fund For Women
Ellen Chigwanda, Project Manager for CARE International Zimbabwe and 2016 Echidna Global Scholar discusses her research on climate change impacts on girls’ education in Zimbabwe. She describes the ways in which educational outcomes for local girls are threatened by severe climate change such as drought which is increasingly causing ripple effects related to food insecurity, water scarcity, and family livelihood issues. Chigwanda stresses the importance of building climate resilience through school infrastructure including sustainable water solutions that allow mutual benefits experienced by the school, students, and local community.
Maureen Kademaunga, from Zimbabwe, writes a poetic article about collective female power, using the element of fire to illustrate the struggle of women from Southern Africa. The fire represents the cooking fires the women make to feed their children and the fire that keeps them warm while working, as pointed out by Kademaunga. These women do not represent hatred or protests against the government, as has been implied. Photo credit: JASS
Barbara Saunyama, a farmer, mother of three girls and widow since 1996, understands firsthand the myriad ways in which patriarchy works to dispose women of their land. Immediately after her husband died, her brother-in-law ordered her to leave her home and go back to her parents because she had only given birth to girls and therefore had no claim over her land. Downcast but unshaken, Barbara managed to receive training from organizations that gave her more confidence to challenge her brother-in-law, eventually winning the battle over her land. Now a member of the Rural Women’s Assembly in Zimbabwe, Barbara continues to fight for the full realization of the rights of women over their natural resources and bodily autonomy. Photo credit: ActionAid
Climate change is making traditional farming more difficult in Zimbabwe. In response, Elizabeth Mpofu, General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, brought women farmers together via the Zimbabwe Organic Smallholder Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) to share knowledge and best practices. Drawing on indigenous wisdom passed down through generations about seed selection and storage, farming methods, nutrition and traditional medicine, women organized seed and food fairs to share the diversity of their native seeds. As a collective, they have lobbied the Zimbabwean government for agricultural policies that put women and food sovereignty first. Photo credit: La Via Campesina
Women farmers in Harare, Zimbabwe are working together to mobilize against dependence on commercial seeds while reclaiming the use of traditional seeds. Women from the Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum participate in educational workshops and celebrations that facilitate the exchange of traditional seeds and educate about the benefits of seed sovereignty. As the price of commercial seeds has inflated beyond the reach of most small-scale farmers, women are using traditional seeds to adapt to climate change and improve their food sovereignty. Photo credit: La Via Campesina