Institutions governing the management of thatching grass, emerging practices and implications for livelihoods: The case of ward 26, Nyabira resettlement area, Zvimba district.
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The study focused on institutions governing the management of thatching grass emerging practices and implications livelihoods in Ward 26, Nyabira, Zvimba District. The community of Nyabira is one of the very few left communities whose livelihood is dependent on thatching grass. Initiatives designed to improve the management of natural resources has neglected thatching grass. It has been considered as a minor resource while much attention has focused on timber and wildlife which are perceived to be economically more rewarding to manage. It is on this premise that the research sought to demystify that motion and actually propose that any developmental initiative targeted at natural resources management has to be inclusive and sustainable, catering for the diversity in the environment as well as placement of value. This study sought to (a) identify the country’s legal framework that deals with the management of thatching grass; (b) investigate the role of local institutions governing access to and management of thatching grass; (c) to establish the level of community participation in the management of thatching grass; (d) give recommendations on the policy frameworks and practice regimes that seeks to improve management of thatching grass without compromising environmental sustainability. The study employed both exploratory and explanatory research designs to interview local leadership and government officers as key informants. Local leaders interviewed included the village head, councillor and local church leader. The researcher held face to face interviews with Environmental Management Agency Officers in Harare and Murombedzi, AGRITEX and Veterinary Officer, Zvimba Rural District Council Officers, the District Administrator and Small to Medium Enterprises Development Official. A Household survey was conducted using KoBoCollect tool v1.14.0a.A total of fifty-eight respondents were interviewed. The researcher managed to hold two Focus Group Discussions, one involving women only and the other one mixed. The reason for discussing with women on their own was to enable them to be free to share and reveal their thoughts without hesitation. Quantitative data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics and Linear and Logistic regression analysis on Statistical Package for Social Sciences, while Qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis. The results revealed that there are various institutional dynamics coupled with lack of collective action on ensuring effective and coordinated efforts from all stakeholders in managing common pool resources such as thatching grass. This is just one example of how unregulated and uncontrolled practices can have far reaching consequences on ecological components ultimately affecting the livelihoods and welfare of affected communities. Establishment of committees involving local and government appointed officers is not a panacea to finding lasting solutions on the degradation of natural resources but it is more to do with what obtains on the ground. Thus, the study recommends that there is need for stakeholders to be non-discriminatory in addressing issues pertaining to common pool resources such as thatching grass, knowledge sharing mechanisms should be put in place for landowners, non-landowners, government officials and civic organisations to facilitate designing of appropriate models for managing common pool resources. Household capacity building should be prioritized targeting voluntary environmental protectors and promoting their excellence so that they realize economic benefits in return for their efforts, for example, veld fire management by harvesting thatching grass. There is also need for the government to consider the communities of former farm workers who have shown that there are better environmental managers in land audit so that thatching grass area can actually become a special economic zone which can be combined with command livestock. The small to medium enterprise development ministry can tap on the existing knowledge, artistic skills and business management strategies employed by the people of Nyabira in selling thatching grass which has seen them stood the test of time regardless of the economic situation.
Additional Citation InformationMafuratidze, N. (2018). Institutions governing the management of thatching grass, emerging practices and implications for livelihoods: The case of ward 26, Nyabira resettlement area, Zvimba district. [Unpublished masters thesis].University of Zimbabwe.
University of Zimbabwe
Special Economic Zone
Management of thatching grass