By Nevson Mpofu
Zimbabwe in its consented effort to bring Renewable Energy home has been supported by European Union, SNV which is Netherlands Development Corporation and Davani Trust to develop Solar Energy projects. . In a multi-facetted move to disseminate the outstanding Solar Energy Project, Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre and Network and Practical Action conducted a Media Tour to news showcase the work so far done.
The Mashava Sustainable Solar Energy for Communities Project is located in Gwanda Matabeleland South 800 kilometers away from the capital city of Harare, Matabeleland South Province. It consists of 400 panels with each 255 watts .It generates 100 kilowatts of energy which supplies 3 Irrigation Schemes , Mangongoni , Sevasa and Rasta Gorge Irrigation , a clinic , Msendai Business Centre and Mashava .
An Expert in the field of Solar who works for Practical Action, Zibanai Kisimusi said the project is highly targeting 10,000 families around the area . However he said only a minimum number is at the moment utilizing the Energy resource because of the high costs in terms of payment.
‘’The challenge is that people in the areas surrounded are paying money in order for them to get the energy provision. However, it is a blessing to those at the school, clinic and some who can afford despite high costs.
‘’The cost of the renewable energy may sound high , but it’s not really high if we talk it in terms of energy utility for renewable energy support of the Green Energy for all . The high costs may be attributable to high standards of living.
‘’People in the area do farming along the Shashi and Thuli Rivers. This is their livelihood. This is Region 5 five, but they survive because of the Alluvial soils along the rivers . The soil is a bit fertile. They need water for sustainable Agriculture. The community has become livable particularly owing attention to Agricultural activities.’’
Mr Kisimisi said at the moment the community has means of survival because of the effort of these Humanitarian organizations which at first supplied energy for free. He pointed out that there is sustainability and livability in terms of Agriculture and food security because there are a total of 15 water pumps meant for the farming activities to move on well at the Gorge, Mangongoni and Sevasa schemes .
‘’Sustainability at the Centre of every development in terms of Agriculture is there yes because there are a total of 15 pumps , 8 hours supply . The Gorge has 41 farmers, Mangongoni 36 farmers and Sevasa 34 farmers,
‘’Sustainability’’, he reiterates, ‘’makes them be in a livable community. They are relying on both commercial crop farming and subsistence farming. They have better chances to feed the communities around the southern province.
‘’Livelihoods rely on this farming in support of this. However we call for more support though this may not completely do away poverty in the country. At list we reduce poverty and extreme hunger. As a country we move forward in success.
Professor Maria Tsvere a Lecturer in Sustainable Livelihoods at Chinhoyi University said it is a blessing to get donor funding done at the advantage of communities. However these people need training and input support in order for them to develop further. She also pointed that there is need for better models which practically must be put at the site,
‘’It is great work done by Donor Agencies. Poverty may be reduced and food security lifted up . Communities need training. Secondly, the need for better models at the site so that this sounds and looks practical.
‘’The kind of models spells out more on what the donor agency shows as an example on the ground pertaining what is being done and how best through practical demonstrations activities are done and what they bring as profit to the community .’’
Giving a conclusion, Mazibisa came back into the discussion cycle. He said at the moment there is no smart –climate Agriculture. This, he said is impossible because of the Irrigation Technologies. He indicated that there is Flooding in terms of the Irrigation systems. Also Non-Governmental Organizations capacitating communities on smart climate, mitigation and adaptation and sustainable Environment are not yet quite active in the area.
The project which started in 2015 is going down in 2019. It stood up at a cost of US 1 million dollars. However there are fears that this may become a failed project is planning, leading, organizing and controlling fails community people in terms of holistic and strategic management.