by Fungai Munetsi


On December 12, 2018, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) commissioned the SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT in Tokwana Village, Plumtree, located in Matebeleland South, Zimbabwe. Matebeleland South, known for its drought-prone conditions and susceptibility to climate change due to its arid nature, was identified by ZCIEA as an area in need. The initiative aimed to equip ZCIEA members with Solar kits to assist them in poultry farming activities. The commissioning of the Solar Project was led by Lorraine Sibanda, the National President of ZCIEA and President of Streetnet International, alongside Wisborn Malaya, the Secretary General of ZCIEA, Lydia Maphosa, the Territorial President of Plumtree, and Fungai Dyke Munetsi, the Information Officer of ZCIEA. The recipients of the Solar Project included Ms. Bokani Dube, Ms. Nothando Nkomo, Ms. Nothando Ncube, and Mr. Fargen Ncube. A total of 67 villagers, who are ZCIEA members, were present to witness the commissioning of the Solar Project and to participate in a Climate Change workshop in Tokwana Village.

Ms. Bokani Dube, a beneficiary of the project, shared how the Solar kits have enabled her to successfully manage over 100 chickens, which serves as her primary source of income to support her children’s education and provide for her family. During the event, President Lorraine delivered a presentation on Climate Change, focusing on strategies to mitigate its impact in Tokwana Village and beyond. She highlighted the importance of transitioning from non-renewable energy sources like firewood, coal, and generators to renewable alternatives such as solar power, emphasizing its environmental benefits. President Sibanda also encouraged members to engage in eco-friendly activities, such as tree planting and green job initiatives like plastic waste collection for recycling.

In her remarks, ZCIEA Plumtree Territorial President Lydia Maphosa expressed appreciation for the project, noting the collaboration between ZCIEA and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in providing the Solar equipment to Tokwana Village. She commended the beneficiaries for effectively utilizing the equipment in their poultry projects, underscoring the positive impact it has had on both their businesses and the environment. Maphosa highlighted the challenges faced by villagers prior to acquiring the solar kits, including reliance on firewood for lighting, which not only harmed the environment but also posed labor-intensive tasks for the community members. The introduction of the solar kits has significantly improved their livelihoods and minimized environmental impact.

ZCIEA Secretary General Wisborn Malaya delivered a presentation on Climate Change in the local vernacular language (Kalanga), with Mr. Fargen Ncube providing English interpretation. The outreach efforts initiated in Tokwana Village following their introduction to ZCIEA at the Lusvingo Festival in October 2017 have resulted in increased membership and positive engagement within the community. Through such initiatives, ZCIEA continues to empower its members and promote sustainable practices in response to climate change challenges.

Overall, the Solar Energy Project in Tokwana Village stands as a testament to the transformative impact of renewable energy solutions in enhancing livelihoods, fostering environmental sustainability, and promoting community development in vulnerable regions like Matebeleland South.

‘The Chamber That Delivers’