Women and Persons With Disabilities Steer Climate Change Mitigation Committee

Ronald Chigwada

Women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Epworth have pledged to take a leading role in preserving the environment and lessening climate change effects as they are victims of its negative impacts.

Speaking during Epworth community live chat organized by Community Radio Harare (CORAH) under the theme “Women and People with Disabilities for Climate Change Justice”, Epworth Residents Development Association (ERDA) secretary Peter Nyapetwa said women and PWDs can raise their voices for climate change justice through contributing towards mitigation strategies and monitoring progress.

Nyapetwa has also encouraged the women and PWDs to be at the center of preserving the environment (farmlands, mines, wetlands, and water bodies) whilst observing effects of climate change in their communities.

Climate change activist and Advocates4Earth director Lenin Chisaira, took time to break down the climate change information into layman’s everyday language for the participants to understand. He also shared the nexus between climate change and life in Epworth as well as the impact of climate change and how it affects women and persons with disabilities.

Chisaira went on to explain that though women, PWDs, and men experience climate change differently, the effects are felt by all. Together with the participants, they came up with adaptation and mitigation strategies to counter climate change problems.

Some of the mitigation action points that were raised are preservation of wetlands, engaging trees experts on which trees to plant, creating a climate change women action group that will be responsible for monitoring environmental issues in their communities as well as petitioning the local board to put regulations that will stop the haphazard drilling of boreholes as this endagers the water table.

Also present was disabilty and gender activist and Signs of Hope Trust director Samantha Sibanda, who noted that women and PWDs are not just victims but active agents of change as they also possess unique knowledge and skills.

Participants at the Women and People with Disabilities For Climate Change Justice

Women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) who attended the meeting made a decision to form a Climate Change Action Committee made up of environmental activists, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), relevant ministries, and the Epworth council.

The committee is set to liaise with relevant authorities in all sectors of development so that they will have representatives who will help further take climate change issues seriously.

According to the definition from the United Nations, Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, but since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and gas), which produces heat-trapping gases.

Worldwide, climate change has resulted in shortages of water, a decrease in the amount of food production, and other threats to human health including the skin, nervous and respiratory systems.

The Community Radio Harare (CORAH) “Women and People with Disabilities for Climate Change Justice” has ignited an interest to initiate a change in residents’ views towards climate change issues.

The project has been made possible through the support of WAN-IFRA African Media Grants

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