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Using Solar Power to Adapt to Climate Change

By Practical Action On 20.12.2021 Climate changeBlog

Think you can’t get water out of the sun? Think again.

Ntshali is a climate pioneer and farmer in Zimbabwe. He’s using solar power to help his community adapt to droughts caused by climate change.


Ntshali at the site of the solar energy plant that’s powering irrigation and boosting harvests in Gwanda

Most of the rural population in Gwanda, where Ntshali lives, rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Farming has always been a challenge in this arid region. But climate change, poor quality soil and little access to energy for irrigation makes the everyday tasks of farmers even harder.

Poor management of natural resources, paired with deforestation and overgrazing are further damaging the soil, making it harder for farmers to grow enough to feed themselves and earn an income.


Ntshali’s pioneering solution

With our support, Ntshali is taking positive steps to improve irrigation, soil condition and crop yields.

Alongside installing solar-powered irrigation schemes, we’re working with Ntshali’s community to build a sand dam to collect rain and groundwater, so there will be enough to water crops all year. Ntshali is a member of the local Community Management Committee, which is trained to maintain and repair these water management solutions in the future.


Planet-friendly farming to improve soil health

Ntshali has learned planet-friendly farming techniques like composting and planting nitrogen-fixing plants. He’s teaching these skills to others in his community and together they’re improving the organic matter in the soil, helping more crops thrive.

Ntshali explained: “Soil is a finite resource and therefore we must use it carefully. Since working with Practical Action, I’ve learnt that there is no soil or land which can be dismissed as unproductive. You have to give to the soil in order for it to give back to you.”

Farmer field schools are helping farmers in Gwanda learn and share new skills

Working together to achieve big change

To support Ntshali’s work within his community, our climate experts in Zimbabwe are advising local governments. We’re teaming up to carry out environment scanning and supporting authorities to introduce new ways to manage the area’s natural resources, improving the land for everyone.

Find out about our plan to work with more climate pioneers like Ntshali. By working together, we can adapt to the changing climate and build a better future, now.