In 2012, Oxfam in Zimbabwe secured funding from the Leverage and Resource Scarcity Fund for a project titled Strengthening Weather and Climate Change information dissemination systems in Zimbabwe. The overall project objective is to build the resilience of smallholder farmers in Masvingo and Midlands Provinces of Zimbabwe to weather variability and climate change.
The expected results of the project are:
1. Agricultural extension workers in Gutu, Zvishavane and Chirumanzu districts have improved understanding of and access to weather, climate change and agro meteorological information.
Smallholder farmers in Gutu, Chirumanzu and Zvishavane Districts have improved access to local level weather, climate and agro meteorological information services as well as improved knowledge on climate change.
2. Documentation of all Project information and learning and sharing with communities, stakeholders and policy makers at local, national and global levels.
The project is building on a Food Security and Livelihoods project that was implemented by Oxfam from April 2010 to March 2014 in 15 wards of Gutu, Chirumanzu and Zvishavane districts of Zimbabwe with funding from the European Commission. This project began in October 2012 and ends in March 2015.
Oxfam is the main project proponent and is responsible for overall management of the project while Meteorological Services Department (MSD) and the Department of Agricultural, Technical and Extension Services (AGRITEX) are technical partners in the project. Oxfam is also working with strategic partners in the targeted districts. The partners include Batanai HIV/AIDS Support Organization (BHASO) in Gutu and Midlands AIDS caring Organization (MACO) in Zvishavane as these were working with Oxfam on the Food Security and Livelihoods project that started in April 2012 and ended in March 2014. Oxfam is taking the lead in the implementation of activities for this intervention in all the 3 districts whilst MSD is providing technical assistance in the siting, installation, operations and maintenance of the meteorological equipment. AGRITEX is leading on the training of agricultural extension staff on mainstreaming weather and climate change in extension with assistance from MSD and Oxfam. The project interventions, information and learning generated will be linked to the policy making processes as well as the Food and Climate Justice Campaign (GROW) being implemented globally by Oxfam
Description of the project areas
Gutu district is located in the northern part of Masvingo province with approximately 205,533 people (2012 National Census).The project area is in the extreme east of the district which is predominantly natural region 4 and 5. As such the conditions are hot and dry with low and unreliable rainfall characterised by a long mid rainy season dry spells and dry land subsistence agriculture and livestock rearing.
Chirumanzu District is in the Midlands Province with approximately 81087 people. It lies in NRIII with fair climatic and environmental conditions which include annual rainfall of between 500-750 mm with mid-season dry spells and high temperatures. The area has several irrigation schemes. However, the predominant farming system is dry land subsistence and livestock rearing.
Zvishavane District lies in the extreme south of Midlands Province of Zimbabwe with approximately 115,372 people (45,325 Urban, 70,047 Rural). The district lies mostly in natural region IV of Zimbabwe’s agro ecological regions and is characterised by annual rainfall of 450-650 mm, severe dry spells during the rainy season, and frequent seasonal droughts. Dry land subsistence and livestock rearing are common.
The project is being implemented in 4 wards (12,13,15,16) in Gutu district, 5 wards in Zvishavane (1,2,4,8,9) and 6 wards in Chirumanzu district (3,4,7,8,9,10).
Key project activities include:
• Conducting a Project baseline
• Purchase and installation of 15 manual weather stations in 15 targeted wards.
• Purchase and installation of 3 automatic weather Stations in 3 targeted districts.
• Training on use of weather equipment for agricultural extension workers in 3 districts.
• Training on weather and climate change for 60 agricultural extension workers.
• Training of farmers in 15 target wards on weather and climate change.
• Conduct a research study on an area related to project implementation.
• Develop a project documentary and interactive DVD for sharing with the local, national, and international stakeholders.