A community Peace Club (CPC) established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Buhera has made strides towards ending human and wildlife conflicts. On 31 March 2022, the CPC engaged authorities from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) for a community dialogue to deliberate on cases of human and wildlife conflicts that are on the rise in Buhera.
Zimparks has a mandate to manage Zimbabwe’s wildlife resources through an Act of Parliament known as the Parks and Wildlife Act of 1975. It is also mandated with the protection, management and administration of wildlife in Zimbabwe. The dialogue meeting comes against background where the CPC has been engaging various stakeholders and noted that stray animals from Devuli Game Park were destroying crops. It is for this reason that the CPC engaged officials from the Zimparks to create an interface platform for the community to raise concerns around human and wildlife conflicts. The meeting was attended by 105 community members including Traditional leaders, community members and officials from Zimparks.
Participants noted that human and wildlife conflicts were on the increase in the area and this was threatening food security as animals were destroying crops.”We risk experiencing a drought because almost every day, our crops are being destroyed by wild animals “said one Village head. The dialogue meeting also noted that there was need for the community to be vigilant and knowledgeable on how best to deal with wild animals.
In light of this, the dialogue meeting provided an opportunity for the Human and Wildlife and Conflict Management Conflict Committee set up by locals to meet with officials from Zimparks. As part of ensuring communities participate effectively in dealing with human and wildlife conflicts, Zimparks will train the committee in wildlife conservancy through effective, efficient and sustainable utilization of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations and stakeholders.
The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to create dialogues among citizens as this helps to safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe