Local Resilience to Natural Hazards in Zimbabwe: Experiences from Mhondoro-Ngezi Rural Communities

Farai Ngwaru, Elliott P. P Niboye


Abstract This article, based on a study carried out in Mhondoro-Ngezi District during the period 2017 to 2019, assesses strategies used by the Mhondoro-Ngezi District rural communities of Zimbabwe to cope with the effects of natural hazards. Rural rapid and participatory appraisal methodologies were used to collect data from 128 members of family units from a regional populace of about 102345. Furthermore, six (6) key informants were contacted for more detailed and nuanced qualitative information. In addition, three focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted to complement what was obtained from the interviews. In a nutshell, MhondoroNgezi District communities relied on subsistence farming and nutritional gardening for livelihoods. During drought seasons, most households depended on open wells on dry river beds for domestic water use and for watering their gardens. Diversification into activities such as trading and hawking, hunting and gathering wild fruits, brick-moulding, wage labour and artisanal work were noted as means of survival. It was also found out that veld fires and environmental degradation due to human negligence were a considerable challenge in Mhondoro-Ngezi District. The article establishes that some groups in the study communities are more vulnerable to natural hazards than others. The article also proposes measures for mitigating the negative impacts of natural hazards in the study area


communities, diversification, livelihoods, subsistence, sustainable, vulnerability

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