Original Research

Challenges faced by rural people in mitigating the effects of climate change in the Mazungunye communal lands, Zimbabwe

Louis Nyahunda, Happy M. Tirivangasi
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 1 | a596 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i1.596 | © 2019 Louis Nyahunda, Happy M. Tirivangasi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 December 2017 | Published: 21 February 2019

About the author(s)

Louis Nyahunda, Department of Social Work, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Happy M. Tirivangasi, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Limpopo, South Africa


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Abstract

The phenomenon of climate change is one of the most contested and debated concepts globally. Some governments still deny the existence of climate change and its impact on rural–urban areas around the world. However, the effects of climate change have been visible in rural Zimbabwe, with some communities facing food insecurity, water scarcity and loss of livestock. Climate change has impacted negatively on agriculture, which is the main source of livelihood in Zimbabwe’s rural communities. This study aims at exploring challenges faced by rural people in mitigating the effects of climate change in the Mazungunye community, Masvingo Province, in Zimbabwe. The objectives of the study were to identify the challenges that impede effective adaptation of rural people to climate change hazards and to examine their perceptions on how to foster effective adaptation. The researchers conducted a qualitative research study guided by descriptive and exploratory research designs. Purposive sampling was employed to draw the population of the study. The population sample consisted of 26 research participants drawn from members of the community. Data was collected through in-depth individual interviews and focus group discussions. Thematic content analysis was used to analyse data. The findings of the study revealed the following challenges: unpredictability of indigenous knowledge systems, lack of resources and technoscience adaptive methods, lack of support to implement viable mitigation strategies, lack of information about resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change. This study has significance to policymakers and other stakeholders concerned with devising and implementing policies and programmes that are responsive to rural people’s needs in the climate change terrain, tapping into their presenting challenges as a departure point for intervention. The study recommended that the most important way to help rural poor people adapt to climate change is through the provision of information; immediate response to needs and climate-smart agricultural policies.

Keywords

climate change; rural areas; resilience; mitigation; Zimbabwe; agriculture

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