Communique of the 8th Annual Symposium on Gender, Climate and Extractives 2024


Empowering Women, Youths, and Marginalised Groups in the Face of Climate Change

In the heart of Harare, from the 13th – 14th of March 2024, the 8th Annual Gender Symposium unfolded under the banner “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” a clarion call to action against the backdrop of climate change. Rebranded to the Symposium on Gender, Climate and Extractives, the gathering was more than a meeting of minds; it was a confluence of passion and purpose, where women and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds—miners, farmers, civil society activists, government officials, and media—converged to forge a path toward gender equity and climate justice.
The symposium’s narrative was one of empowerment and engagement. It delved into the systemic challenges that women encounter in the stewardship of natural resources, recognising their pivotal role yet acknowledging the barriers that stifle their voices. The discourse was rich and varied, with personal stories of resilience and innovation, painting a vivid picture of the lived realities of those at the frontline of climate change.
Setting the tone for the symposium, Commissioner Naome Chimbetete of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission implored women to claim their space in both the extractives and renewable energy industries, especially by leading efforts to curb climate change and its effects. She gave the example of women taking ownership and senior management roles in recycling companies and landfill operations, where profit margins and income-earning capacity are the high. On gender diversity in the mining workforce, Commissioner Chimbetete lamented the poor percentages of women who occupy seats on boards or managerial posts in mining companies globally. She further highlighted how women are in the periphery of the value chain, relegated to low level jobs such as cleaning, providing of goods and services. This was due to cultural and institutional frameworks that limit the participation of women. To this end it was important for governments to create policies and programs that enhance the participation of women on issues that directly affect them.
Joyce Maho and Muthlazi Tsverukai, representing the farming community in Nyanga and Chipinge respectively, were supported to attend the symposium by Christian Aid under the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy [CCASE] project, and shared their stories of triumph over adversity. They spoke of how adaptation strategies and conservation farming had not only improved crop yields but had also fortified the economic backbone of their communities. Their experiences were a testament to the power of local knowledge and the potential of local initiatives to drive change.
The symposium was not just about sharing experiences; it was about shaping futures. The ministries of Agriculture and Women’s Affairs outlined their commitment to empowering women, particularly in rural areas, through various initiatives. Yet, the discussions underscored the need for these resources to be more accessible, to ensure that no woman is left behind.
Chioneso Kanoyangwa shared insights from the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) into the disproportionate impact of climate change on African nations, and specifically on women, brought a global perspective to the local narrative. The call for governments to allocate sufficient resources to mitigate these hardships was both urgent and compelling.
Gender-sensitive climate action was a recurring theme, with advocates like Rumbidzayi Makoni of Action Aid Zimbabwe (AAZ) and Alfios Mayoyo of the Center for Agriculture and Food Policy (CAFP), highlighting the need for strategies that alleviate the workload of women. This would enable them to participate more fully in climate action and pursue additional opportunities for growth and development. Sipiwe Manjengwa of Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO) highlighted how the organisation has implemented a program called ‘a school without walls,’ which allows farmers to work together and learn from each other, improving their productivity. Women farmers have also benefited from leadership training and have been taught to grow small grains due to climate change.
Ruvimbo Kadenhe [Women in Gemstone Association of Zimbabwe] a gemstone miner based in Hurungwe, narrated her journey in the gemstone sector which include travelling to Zambia, to learn about the gemstones. She highlighted that in Hurungwe the major challenge was exclusive prospecting orders, (EPOs), which make it difficult for locals to acquire claims for mining. Secondly, Ruvimbo highlighted that there were few women involved in the gemstone sector because of the high cost of compliance by the Ministry of Mines.
As the symposium drew to a close, the air was charged with a sense of purpose. There was collective resolve as attendees prepared to take the insights and recommendations forward. The call to action was clear, foster an inclusive and sustainable approach to combating climate change, with a focus on empowering women, youths, and marginalised groups.

The Communique
WE, the more than 50 participants that include, farming and mining communities, faith-based organisations, government officials and civil society organisations, gathered at Cresta Oasis Lodge, Harare on 13 to 14 March 2024 for the Gender, Climate and Extractives Symposium. under the theme, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” #InvestInWomen,
Noting the need to amplify outreach by reaching out to every corner where women stand ready to lead the charge in the green economy,
Advocating for comprehensive legislative reforms to foster gender equality and enhance climate resilience across communities,
Prioritising the development and dissemination of climate adaptation training programs, tailored to the specific environmental conditions of low-rainfall regions,
Disheartened by the continued suppression and exclusion of women in economic activities, especially in the extractive and agricultural sectors,
Riled by the unjust treatment of women on land rights issues,
Worried by the limited climate adaptation knowledge in the face of climate change,
Recommend the following:

  • Information Dissemination
    We call upon The Ministry of Mines to share information on the schedule pertaining to consultations on the Mines Bill. This will enable more people to participate and if the information is spread wide enough it will give women in mining an opportunity to be able to attend the consultations. We call upon the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development; Parliamentary Portfolio on Mines and Mining Development, the Ministry of Information; media organisations; and women’s advocacy groups to lead the information drive. This is the essence of strengthening outreach – creating a system that empowers women with knowledge and connects them to opportunities that catalyse environmental stewardship and economic growth
  • Legal and Policy Reforms
    We call upon the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees on Gender and Legal Affairs; law reform commissions; and civil society organisations focused on gender equality to work with the Ministry Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to reduce the cost of compliance as it relates to mining licensing, levies, charges and taxes. We also call upon Government to release more ground to enable locals to participate in the mining sector. This would address the challenges faced by women such as EPOs in Hurungwe. This will enable more women and other marginalized groups of society to participate in the mining sector.
  • Economic Empowerment
    We call upon the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; financial institutions; and rural development agencies to advance the establishment of community financial institutions and promote equitable land ownership to empower marginalised demographics. We encourage successful women in mining to showcase their talent at local and international trade fairs for more women to participate in mining and mining associations to realize results of their work by training on the actual extraction of minerals.
  • Research and Partnership
    We call upon academic institutions; research think tanks; and the Gender Commission in partnership with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to foster collaborative research endeavours between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and independent Commissions such as the Gender Commission to shape policy that is informed by data, experience, and the collective wisdom of those dedicated to gender equality. We encourage women to approach mining companies so that they can get assistance to start community projects, which in turn will improve their well-being and that of their community.
  • Inclusivity in Programs
    We call upon gender-focused NGOs; and community development organisations to cultivate inclusive development programs that integrate men and boys, contributing to wholistic community advancement.
  • Effective Communication and Awareness
    We call upon Government departments; women’s rights activists; and community leaders to enhance government communication strategies to ensure widespread understanding and engagement with gender-focused policies among women.
  • Education on Land Rights
    We call upon the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement; legal aid societies; and women’s property rights advocacy groups to intensify educational programs for women on land rights and emphasise the importance of joint land ownership with spouses as key for their protection.
  • Climate Adaptation Training
    We call upon agricultural extension service providers, the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; and environmental NGOs to develop gendered training programmes in climate adaptation.

As such, the symposium’s conclusion was not an end but a beginning – a commitment to turn these and so many other recommendations into actions, striving for a future where climate resilience and gender equity are not just aspirational but achievable.

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