Development boost for Mlibizi community in Binga District, Matabeleland North

16 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Development boost for Mlibizi community in Binga District, Matabeleland North

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu,Matabeleland South Bureau Chief

THE Mlibizi community in Binga District, Matabeleland North Province, which has long been lamenting over being left behind in development is set for a major boost following the implementation of development projects across various sectors.

The community now has access to clean water after decades of relying on water from Mlibizi River following the refurbishment of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) water reticulation system.

The improvement in water supply has resulted in 10 schools and a clinic in the area receiving water. The institutions have also been solarised.

The community has also received a major boost in the agricultural sector following the establishment of a 20 hectare irrigation scheme, which is the first in the area. Four one hectare irrigation gardens have also been established in the area.

The capacitation of the Zinwa water reticulation system has made it possible to sustain agriculture projects. The project also seeks to strengthen early warning systems, through the provision of automated weather stations and other early warning enablers.

Beneficiaries of the project have also formed Internal Savings and Lending clubs in order to boost income generation.
Binga lies in agro-ecological regions three, four and five and is characterised by low erratic rainfall coupled with high temperatures. It is characterised by long dry spells, low altitude and poor agricultural productivity.

These projects have been implemented under the Climate Adaptation Water and Energy Programme (Cawep). The project, which is being funded by the United Kingdom to the tune of 13,6 million pounds, is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with Government playing an advisory role through its various ministries and departments.

The Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Ministry of Lands Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training have been instrumental in the implementation of the programme.

The programme is being implemented in four districts namely Binga, Insiza, Chipinge and Chivi.
The Cawep project, which started in August 2022 will run until November 2025.

In an interview, Chief Saba from Binga District said it is a relief to witness major development initiatives that could significantly improve the lives of community members.
He said these projects would come in handy in eradicating poverty.

“With these development projects underway in our community, we are anticipating a new era that will improve livelihoods. Agriculture is a main contributor to people’s livelihoods. The land has always been there and the water has been there but our farming was only restricted to the rainy season as we didn’t have irrigation schemes.

“Most of our schools were not electrified and the community relied on river water. This programme has brought the much needed development in our area and from here we expect to see great change.

Our children will stand a chance in this technologically driven world, women and youth will be empowered. One day, our area will be known to be a major food source for the district,” he said.
Binga District Development Co-ordinator (DDC), Mr Land Siansolo Kabome said the Cawep project has helped address development gaps that have existed in the district for years.

“The old Zinwa pipe system hadn’t been functioning for about 10 years, which had left many people in despair. Villagers were also struggling to harvest enough because of poor rains.

These irrigation projects won’t only ensure households have food, but they will also be a source of income. We are happy that we are one of the four districts that have benefitted from the project.

“These projects are crucial in the realisation of Vision 2030. This also goes well with the NDS1, which we are implementing. We would like to thank the United Kingdom and UNDP for bringing hope to the community.

We are also pleased that our partners are working closely with Government through its ministries,” he said.
Mr Kabome said the programme is also in sync with the district’s goal of ensuring sustainability on crop and animal production. He said the project would also contribute to industrialisation of the district.

“We also see Government’s thrust of leaving no one and no place behind being fulfilled here as Binga has been included. The turnover of teachers in the district has been alarming, but we now expect a change hat, our schools have been solarised.

Our President declared that Zimbabwe is open for business and we thank him for creating an environment, which enables partners to work with Government in developing our communities,” he said.

UNDP communications associate, Mr Anesu Freddy said the broad idea of the Cawep programme is to ensure that no one is left behind hence Binga was selected to benefit from the programme.

He said the target is to bring social amenities closer to the people.
Mr Freddy said improved access to water is key to the attainment of Vision 2030.

“One of the targets of the Cawep project, which is being funded by the UK government and supported by the Government of Zimbabwe, which we are implementing as UNDP involves working with social institutions such as schools and clinics and also working with the communities. In total, we have supported 12 institutions with solar, which comprise 10 schools, one clinic and a Zinwa water reticulation plant.

To improve access to clean water, we have connected these schools and a clinic as well.
“The immediate change we have seen is that instead of learners coming with water to school from their homes and teachers walking seven kilometres to get water from the river, the water is now available at the school.

Instead of the community walking long distances to the river to collect water, they now have community taps nearby. This will also help to reduce incidences of diseases in the area. Schools are now operating with electricity, which has improved the learning and teaching environment,” he said.

UNDP communications officer for Cawep, Mr Paul Sixpence said under the agriculture component, the programme seeks to climate proof communities and ensure food security.

He said Binga is one of the districts that have been hard hit by climate change and the programme seeks to enhance climate smart agriculture.

Mr Sixpence said the programme had introduced climate smart technology to the Binga community as centre pivot water systems, drip irrigation and solar energy.

The 20-hectare irrigation scheme that has been established is run on a business model.
Cawep aims to support the development of climate- resilient, multiple-use water and renewable energy infrastructure to enable continued access to water for productive and household use during droughts and floods.

It also seeks to enhance improved access to clean and affordable energy to support economic activities and strengthen early warning systems.

The programme will also rehabilitate existing and establish new irrigation schemes to boost household food security and support sustainable livelihoods.

When complete, Cawep would have connected 12 500 people to electricity on a solar micro- grid in the Hakwata area in Chipinge.

Almost 150 000 people are set to access water in the Mlibizi  area in Binga, Wanezi in Insiza,  Hakwata in Chipinge and Gororo area in Chivi.
A total of 130 hectares of agriculture land will be put to productive use and over half a million people will have access to location specific, early warning information.

The project seeks to support the Government in attaining its climate change goals. It will align and contribute towards the Government’s climate change priorities outlined in various strategies, such as its National Development Strategy 1, Nationally Determined Contributions and the National Climate Policy,among others. —@DubeMatutu

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