Reusing Waste to Adapt to Climate Change

By Practical Action On 13.01.2022 Climate change

Kitchen waste and manure are giving new life to farmland in Zimbabwe, thanks to a climate pioneer called Sikhetiwe. She’s learned new ways to boost harvests, and is even using the power of the sun to help her community adapt to droughts caused by climate change.

Sikhethiwe near her farm in Gwanda, where climate change has reduced farmland to barren wasteland

Sikhethiwe lives in a rural part of Zimbabawe called Gwanda. 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 make a living.

Sikhethiwe’s zero-waste approach

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

Sikhethiwe has learned how to use kitchen waste and manure to fertilise soil. By reusing these waste products, which would usually be thrown away, she’s helping to make the soil more fertile so she can grow more healthy crops on her farm. She’s sharing her new knowledge with others, so that the whole community can benefit.

We’re also working with Sikhethiwe’s community to instal solar-powered irrigation schemes and to build a sand dam to collect rain and groundwater, so there will be enough to water crops all year.

Farmer field schools like this one are an opportunity for farmers like Sikhethiwe to learn and share knowledge

Bountiful harvests boost lives and livelihoods

As well as reusing waste products, Sikhethiwe is using other planet-friendly farming techniques, such as composting and planting nitrogen-fixing plants. Her dedication has resulted in bigger harvests. Now she is growing enough food both to feed her family and earn an income.

“I never imagined that I could earn an income or be able to do something to support my family but now it’s different. We went through some really bad times, but now my life has changed for the better by working with Practical Action.” Sikhetiwe told us.

Working together to achieve big change

To support Sikhethiwe’s work within her community, our climate exerts 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 Sikhetiwe. Using ingenuity and locally-owned solutions, we can adapt to the changing climate and build a better future, now.