Written by Rumbidzai Mashavave
In 2014, I was part of a Healthy Urban Environments: Participatory Approaches in Improving Food Sovereignty in Urban Communities Participatory Action Research training project. It was facilitated by Training and Research Support Centre (TARSC) In collaboration with African Women’s Initiative in Developing Economies (AWIDE) http://www.tarsc.org/publications/documents/TARSC%20AWIDE%20Fac%20Tng%20Rep%20July2014.pdf
I had the opportunity to test out my newly gained skills in a peri urban area -Warren Park, Harare,Zimbabwe in urban farming. I went through a transect walk with the women farmers and perform a ranking and scoring exercise with the male farmers as a problem analysis to help them differentiate between the primary and secondary problems as well as narrow down on problems that they as a group agree to be the most important to be dealt with.
During and after the exercise, questions on how to improve soil fertility and water retention kept coming up. As an agriprenuer at that time, I referred them to Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) for market linkages, and knowledge transfer for fertilizers as well as access to farming schemes they could benefit from. With no income, they would not prioritize spending bus fare to go to the ZFU office for assistance, while the text messages they send where largely agri food product market reports and news.
What I would have done differently,
Today, 5 years later, I would have assisted them by creating awareness of composting of their organic food waste in their gardens to increase soil fertility and introduced them to permaculture. Using local resources towards food and nutrition security and environmental health. Composting is not new knowledge, however, in vicinity of Kwamereki, popular for “goch goch” (barbecue) is a dumpsite where organic food waste is evidently present revealed by the familiar smell of composting. Only, its increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
The primary use of resources is a process of the circular economy. This includes recycling, efficient use of resources and use of renewable resources. Waste is a resource, and composting it, as an example is an efficient use as opposed to directing it to the landfill.
Corruption, misappropriation of funds are instruments that contributed towards the detrimental of the Zimbabwean economy and possibly national level implementation of sustainable solutions, for example, to our electricity, https://www.techzim.co.zw/2019/07/strive-masiyiwa-says-i-could-have-solved-zims-power-crisis-12-years-ago-but-corruption/
However, applying circular economy principles begins with the individual, the household, the community, the school, the business. The government can play catch up and learn from responsible citizens. Its TIME TO ACT!