It is of paramount importance to note that the operating space of Civil Society Organizations is constantly changing and shrinking. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are operating at a time when the parliament of Zimbabwe is still debating the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) bill which is likely to further shrink the civic space if passed into law. One cannot turn a blind eye on the fact that the bill opens for greater regulation of 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 puts CSOs at risk of conducting activities since they can be targeted and risk to be deregistered.
It is against this background that CIASA implemented this activity in Chipinge district. Conflicts between wildlife and humans has been escalating in the district, with many clashes being occasionally reported. On 1 January 2022 Shylet Muyambo (22) and her six-month-old baby was trampled to death by a stray elephant in Kushinga B village under Chief Musikavanhu, Chipinge. On the 27th of April 2022 there was scare in Mt Selinda when 5 Jumbo elephants were seen roaming in the villages. National Parks Rangers responded and one Jumbo was killed to drive away the other elephants back to the reserve.
Citizens In Action Southern Africa in partnership with Green Institute held a community- stakeholder engagement meeting on recovery pathways of climate induced disasters and human wildlife conflicts in Chipinge district under Manicaland Province at Mt Selinda high school on the 26th of May 2022. The organizations 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 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 District Development Coordinator, Environment Management Agency (EMA), Forest Commission of Zimbabwe, Meteorological Services Department and traditional leaders. However, twenty-eight participants managed to attend the meeting, 14 of the participants were females and 14 were males. Citizens In Action Southern Africa (CIASA) through this meeting managed to foster relationships with the Chipinge District Development Coordinator office, Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, Environmental Management Agency and Metrological Services Department (MET). The meeting was also a success as women and youth were capacitated on climate change. The activity also managed to improve engagement and collaboration amongst CIASA, Green Institute and Chipinge local authority.
- 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 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 marginalized and peripheral communities which do not afford radios and where there is bad network connections.
- Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe and Environmental Management Agency recommended Civil Society Organizations 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 organizations 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.
Source: Citizens In Action Southern Africa (CIASA)