Messiahs Or Wolves In Sheep Clothing? Interventions By Non-state Actors In A Changing Climatic Environment In Rural Zimbabwe | 12142
Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change
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his paper attempts to explore pathways of how rural farmers are coping with a changing climatic environment in rural
Zimbabwe. My discussion is premised on interventions by both state and non-state actors. The paper asserts that in as
much as interventions by outsiders have made inroads in building resilience by rural communities, the approach is fraught
with contradictions and epistemic pitfalls. Rural communities, like sheep being taken to the altar are enticed to join projects
by ?outsiders? with offers of inorganic fertilisers, seed and grand prizes of for example, heifers to those farmers who excel. Yet
at the end of these interventions, there appears to be no exit strategy by the non-state actors often leading to the collapse of
the project. In all this, who benefits from these supposedly gestures of good-will? However, in the midst of these interventions,
some enterprising smallholders are making huge strides in building resilience to a changing climatic environment. These are
farmers who have realised that ?new situations demand new magic? to borrow a phrase from Evans-Pritchard. This paper makes
suggestions on how interventions by outsiders can play a pivotal role in rural development.
Christopher M. Mabeza is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town. He is currently doing a research on
adaptation to climate change by rural communities in Zimbabwe for his doctoral thesis. He has written two papers which are in press and both are
on rural farmers in Zimbabwe and their adaptive capacity to climate change. He has also done consultancy work on awareness to climate change
for the government of Zimbabwe which was funded by the United Nations Environment Programme.
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