As Zimbabwe and most of Southern Africa continue to experience heavy rains which in some areas have resulted in loss of life, property, and extreme flooding. Thousands of people have been rendered homeless, schools have been swept away infrastructure such as roads and bridges has been rendered impassable thus leaving developmental agencies, Civic Society Organisation and Community Based Organisation such as Young Achievement Sports for Development with a Herculean task of trying to bring hope to various families affected by the incessant rains that have ravaged the already lagging in development community of Hatcliffe Extension.
As the world is grappling with the effects of climate change such as increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, floods, cyclonic activity and typhoons, YASD has not been spared either. Due to these climatic changes, communities where the organisation works have experienced declining and contaminated water supplies , reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, flooding and erosion.
Beyond the economic and physical damage that the heavy rains and floods have caused in Hatcliffe Extension, it has greatly affected the programming activities of YASD. For children who are under the Education Assistance Program, they have had to miss days of school as the heavy rains have made some roads impassable, that coupled with having to work close to 5 kilometres under the pounding rains has seen some of the children staying at home.
For some of the families where these children are coming from, the rains have destroyed their shelter and leave them exposed to the elements. For such children they are living the harsh reality of the effects of climate change, climate change, flooding in particular has denied them access to education. Most of the families supported under the Education Program were supplementing their diet through subsistence farming, however due to the heavy rains most of their crops were washed away or complete destroyed by the heavy rains which will mean low food supplies and children learning on an empty stomach.
The effects of climate have also affected the YASD Sports Training Programs, the continuous rains have flooded the open pieces of land where practice is done which reduced the quality playing surface and exposes players to injuries. Coaches have had to adapt and incorporate trainings on environmental management and effects on the climate some of our actions have. Teams together with their coaches have been digging trenches near the field of play to direct flooded water from the pitch so as to have practice time. Climate change is thus reducing, regular community-based sport and recreation participation.
YASD Programmes Coordinator Petros Chatiza said, “ People within our communities view the effects of climate change as some abstract phenomena that is occurring halfway across the world, without realizing that when your child misses schools because the rains have destroyed your home those are climate change effects. Our communities have to be taught to understand that we all have a part to play in managing our environment and communities”