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Hwange Villagers Work On Restoring Wetlands

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent


THE Kasibo community in Hwange has taken a leading role in restoring wetlands in the area that used to be one of their main sources of livelihoods, but had dried up for years due to uncontrolled cultivation and livestock overgrazing.

A weir, that was fed by the wetland, had also dried up leaving the villagers with no source of water.

However, with the intervention of World Vision and World Food Programme (WFP), who fenced the affected area, the wetland is slowly returning to life while the weir, during this year’s rainy season, was filled with water.

Villagers have since started a two hectare community garden where they are getting vegetables and other crops for sale.

World Vision also donated solar pumping equipment for irrigation and an overnight storage tank.

There are about 40 households, a majority being women, benefiting from the gardening project where they are growing sugar beans, tomatoes, onions and green vegetables.

The villagers are also involved in beekeeping.

Elizabeth Tshuma, who is the garden community chairperson told NewZimbabwe.com, the wetland had improved their lives.

She was speaking during a belated commemoration of World Environment Day.

“We are excited because this garden has changed our livelihoods. People are now able to pay school fees for their children, and get transport money to go to the clinic,” she said.

She said plans are underway to expand the project and develop it into an irrigation scheme.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) Matabeleland North provincial manager Chipo Mpofu applauded the Kasibo community for being pacesetters in conservation.

“This project started just as a dip tank after realising that people were walking long distances with their livestock, but later on a weir was constructed. We are seeing a gradual growth in the area, and this is a true testimony of how we can best manage our resources and environment,” she said.

The whole wetland is now covered with water which is flowing out towards the weir.