REAP PROJECTS SUSTAINS THE VULNERABLE
By Edward Mukaro
PRACTICAL ACTION, a local non-governmental organisation, has equipped hundreds of marginalised households with the requisite skills to fend off the effects of Climate Change, the scourge which threatens human existence, through the successful implementation of its Renewable Energy for Agricultural Productivity (REAP) project.
Zimbabwe has been bashed continuously by climate change, as the country is mainly dependent on agriculture, to make matters dire, the southern African nation’s huge chunk of the population is based in the rural areas, where communal farming is the major source of survival.
As a result, a lot of agencies, NGOs, and government initiatives have been implemented to save the situation, especially for those living in marginalized communities.
Responding to questions from The Business Connect newspaper, Programme Officer for climate and environment at the Embassy of Sweden in Harare, Lucinda Tyser said the organisation’s REAP project had enabled the impartation of knowledge to a number of families in marginalized zones, through income diversification and access to energy to sustain agricultural activities.
“The fight against climate change is ongoing and always presents unforeseen challenges, but we are taking steps forward in making marginalized communities more resilient. This is through income diversification and access to solar-powered irrigation”.
“Over 900 households have benefitted, but there are always more that needs to be reached,” said Tyser.
The work of REAP and other programmes being implemented by Practical Action includes promoting sustainable land-use systems that enhance agricultural productivity and promoting sustainable development and sound utilisation of water resources under changing climatic conditions.
In general terms, the REAP project is a combination of knowledge transfer, skills training; solar-powered irrigation, and promoting access to markets to help farmers double their food production and increase income.
However, it is not plain sailing for Zimbabwean communities, according to Lucinda, as the fight against climate change is still ongoing and various intervention methods still need to be implemented.
However, Tyser reckons the future is bright for Zimbabwe given the various natural resources at the country’s disposal.
“Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go. Zimbabwe is incredibly vulnerable to climate change and much of the population is taking a huge risk when they plant their crops each year. However, Zimbabwe is fortunate in the natural resources that are available, and the key is to harness this potential,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) project in which the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) has partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to improve transparency in climate change issues and is also the key to achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions.