22 June 2022
Story By Josphat Makaza and Natally Gombakomba
Stakeholders who attended the just ended two-day training on Local
Environmental Action Plans (LEAPs) in Marange have been encouraged to take up responsibilities
in the development, implementation, and monitoring of the processes to ensure
the environment is protected for the benefit of the present and future
Organized by the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust and supported
by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association and the Environmental Management Agency, the program was meant to strengthen key stakeholders to promote the right to
a healthy environment for children affected by environmental degradation because
of extractive industries.
According to ZELA, Local Environment Agency Plans (LEAPs) are important tools that can be
utilised by different stakeholders for the identification and solving of environmental
issues in the district
Fadzai Midzi, ZELA official said the process involves all key
stakeholders, the community, Government Departments, local leadership,
environment committees and subcommittees, councilors and religious groups
coming together to identify the environmental challenges in their areas,
assessing, prioritizing them in terms of their severity and developing actions
plans for the identified challenges as well as the monitoring plans.
“Section 95 of the Environmental Management Act (CAP 20:27) has
mandated local authorities to develop LEAPs for the management and protection
of the environment.” she said that the Chimanimani Rural District Council has developed LEAPs which are still
sub-committee for Mukwada and Chiadzwa Ward, traditional leaders and community representatives welcomed the training, describing it as a stitch in time
which will help restore the degraded land whilst addressing environmental
challenges faced by children living near mines.
The Local traditional leader, Mr. Ndakaamba said the child rights
approach initiated by ZELA promotes children and youth
participation in the development of LEAP.
“These also help strengthen our capacity to negotiate for funds and
promote community participation so that they are aware of what is going on in
the community “, he said.
In their 2019 Zimbabwe
Environment Outlook report, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), said
mining and poverty has been the drivers for environmental damage over the past
The report state that community members as well as children and young people are
exposed to the negative impacts of the environment,
and little is being done to correct this.
” Given their physical makeup and position in society, children and young people bear the brunt of the environmental damage which can potentially result in irreversible, lifelong, and even transgenerational consequences”, said EMA official.
The official also called for collaborative efforts to ensure Marange is
a safe place for the children.
The meeting was made possible through the support of Terre des Hommes.