Agents of Environmental Sustainability: Field Experiences of Ntengwe for Community Development’s Self Help Groups Participating in Climate Change Projects

Abednico Siambombe, Innocent Isaac


The academic world has been complicit in the historical marginalization of women in environmental management. This is reflected in the majority of studies on the environment which have assumed biological and physical perspectives excluding the social aspects that can reveal the critical roles of women in environmental sustainability. Women have been excluded from key processes to address environmental degradation and the effects of climate change. Given this background, this study assessed the Self Help Group approach used by Ntengwe to examine the roles community groups particularly women are playing in promoting environmental sustainability as a way of building resilience to climate change in Hwange district. This has greater potential to reveal how community grounded structures can become proactive change agents and has relevance to environmental sustainability. This study broadly adopted an empirical approach and used data from the Self Help Group programme being implemented by Ntengwe in Hwange district which was complimented by project data and reports on environmental management and resilience building towards climate change issues. Women have been able to initiate individual income businesses and use group dynamics to successfully demand climate smart irrigation technologies from civil society. At the project level, women are active plot holders practicing organic farming, coordinating environmental clean-up campaigns and tree planting events activities. The conclusion of this study is that the Self-Help Group approach is helping women in supporting all the three pillars of the economic, social and environmental sustainability. The study recommends promoting bottom up approaches in promoting environmental sustainability.

Keywords: Ntengwe for Community Development, climate change, environmental sustainability, environmental degradation, Self-Help Group, community social capital

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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