Welcome to UNV Zimbabwe
Children at Mercy of Climate Change
by Amy Wickham
Zimbabwean children will be hit hardest by climate change in a development that is likely to have an even more profound effect on their future. Upon being asked during a recent survey of young people on whether or not she understood what climate change meant, a 16-year-old girl from Chimanimani in Manicaland, remarked: “There are strong winds which at times blow off roofs from buildings and houses, so money for school fees is used for reconstruction and survival.”
Another 16-year-old girl from Mbire, Mashonaland Central, remarked: “When there is no food at home due to climate damage, you cannot even talk to parents easily. Sometimes you cannot tell them that you have been sent away from school for non-payment of school fees because of fear of making them angry.”
These sentiments, expressed during a study of the impact of climate change on children conducted last year by the University of Zimbabwe’s Institute for Environmental Studies, suggest two important points.
First, children generally understand how climate change is affecting their wellbeing and, second, that climate change is increasing the vulnerabilities of children.
There is no doubt that children experience the negative effects of climate change.
The regular occurrence of droughts and floods results in food shortages leading to hunger, malnutrition and poverty. As a coping strategy, parents deploy their children to work to earn additional income, sometimes at the expense of the children’s emotional and psychological well-being. It is also not uncommon for parents to marry off their daughters at a young age.
In the University of Zimbabwe study, which was conducted among 1 200 children across the country, droughts and floods were cited as the most serious effects of climate change. Reduced crop yields linked to poor rainfall and floods compromised household food security and environmental degradation multiplied the risk of disease outbreaks.
Great Zimbabwe a memorable experience
By Esther Dzviti
The Zimbabwe United Nations Volunteers held a workshop in Masvingo from the 28th of April to the 30th. The workshop theme was “Enhance UN Volunteers capacity to advocate for, integrate volunteerism and community led engagements”. The workshop was mainly aimed at refreshing the volunteer values and ethics as well as sharing the different volunteer experiences. Below were the outlined objectives of the workshop;
• Increased understanding of the vital role volunteerism plays in development.
• Inspire people to realize the contribution, difference volunteering makes and the satisfaction that comes with it.
• Inform the Volunteers about outstanding community volunteer efforts
• Increased participation and contribution to the International Volunteer Day activities in Zimbabwe
• Increased networking, communication and cooperation among UN Volunteers
The workshop involved a number of diverse presentations conducted by volunteer experts from different volunteering organisations. The presentations were very helpful at both personal and professional levels. The workshop had a presentation on what volunteerism is about, the aim of this presentation was to jog and refresh the memory of the volunteers on the values and meaning of volunteerism. There was also a presentation on the interpersonal relationships in the workplace and productivity. This presentation was one of the most interesting ones as it had high level engagement from the volunteers and the presenter. The presentation covered issues to do with stress management at work and home, conflict prevention and management. There was also a presentation on effective communication which enhanced the volunteers’ communication skills and another presentation on what the International Volunteer Day is about. All these presentation included a discussion time were the volunteers posed questions, and comments on the different issues presented and there was high level participation from the group. The discussions brought out the challenges and experiences that the volunteers have been encountering in their different fields of work. Another presentation on security was conducted by an official from the United Nations Department of Safety and Security
The workshop was graced by the presence of Mr Robert Palmer a UNV official from UNV Head Quarters in Bonn, Germany.
Mr Palmer presented an overview of the UNV 2014-2017 strategic framework, why and what it means for UNV. He also chaired the group in a discussion forum were questions were raised mainly targeted at the functions of the headquarters .On the last day of the workshop the group deliberated on different volunteer ideas that the volunteers could engage in during the year. The meeting agreed on three main activities to be conducted this year that is, tree planting, orphanage home visits and free medical service and counselling. The group elected a committee that will plan and manage the activities.
After conducting a simple evaluation survey we found that the participants enjoyed the workshop and found the presentations to be very useful. We hope that such educative refreshing workshops become yearly activities for the benefit of other volunteers to come.
International Women's day
Bonn, Germany: “Equality for women is progress for all." Today, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme joins in the global celebration of this compelling theme for International Women’s Day. We know that development can neither be equitable nor sustainable as long as women are disproportionately affected by poverty, have lower access to education or health care, and continue to suffer social, cultural and political constraints.
UNV aims to contribute to sustainable development through engaging volunteers and the spirit of volunteerism. We believe that volunteerism can help women have a real voice and role in shaping their livelihoods and their communities and helping accelerate development for all. Women volunteer as a way to combat poverty, contribute to the economy, extend mutual support and achieve a greater level of inclusion.
UNV is committed to supporting women’s engagement in participatory processes, increasing their involvement in, and impact on, local decision-making and enhancing local, national and regional accountability. In countries and communities across the world, we know that women have been strongly engaged in volunteer action to achieve their goals. Local volunteer-based organizations established and run by women are found throughout the developing world.
At the same time, we need to keep doing more to leverage the power of volunteer action to open up spaces for women’s engagement beyond stereotypical gender roles. We already see that women are seizing opportunities for themselves: women’s active volunteering in the social and political movements in different regions is helping them have a voice in the issues that affect their lives, create social networks and generate much-needed social capital. In doing so, women are breaking down stereotypes about their roles and potential.
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