BY TAPUWA MASAWI.
Zimbabwe. (News of The South) -Most women in the rural areas are still travelling long distances in search of firewood as deforestation is taking a toll on the most used energy source in rural areas.
A snap survey by News of The South has revealed that a lot has to be done in access to energy as most women from the young and the elderly have to walk distances to find firewood.
Speaking to this reporter, Samson Mawaka who works with the forestry commission said they are engaging with local leadership in Samanga area in Honde Valley in making efforts to educate villagers on the need to have woodlots as most of them are poaching firewood in plantations like the Selbourne and Chingamwe pine estate.
“Everytime we do our raids many women are caught poaching firewood and their arguments are that there are no forests where they can collect firewood but we are talking with the local leadership to encourage people to set up woodlots using exotic trees which grow fast,” said Mawaka.
Most women said they walk 10-15 kilometres to collect firewood.
“It’s a strenuous chore of collecting firewood as most of the time I skip homework on weekend to help my mother to collect firewood,” said 15 year-old Farai Duri,a student at Gatsi High.
An elderly women from Gwiriri village said firewood collection was actually making her health to fall.
“I am a widow and most of my grandchildren are in towns and cities. I cannot afford to have a domestic servant so i have to do all the chores by myself and if I fail to have firewood i use cow-dung for cooking but that is making me sick, ’said the sickly Mbuya Mareya .
The Zimbabwean government under the Rural Electrification Programmes has made tremendous efforts in electrifying schools, clinics and hospitals and a some households but the majority of the households cannot afford electrification as most of them have low incomes.
Most resort to firewood which has led to deforestation to take place at alarming rate.
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