THE BERLIN MOOT – A conference pioneering new approaches to peace: 17-18 April in Berlin

THE BERLIN MOOT: A peace conference on 17-18 April

STORY

Insider mediator secures water supply for local farmers in Zimbabwe

Read Margaret Chaikosa's story!

Margaret has improved irrigation schemes by managing conflicts between irrigation farmers in Midlands Province, Zimbabwe. Margaret has improved irrigation schemes by managing conflicts between irrigation farmers in Midlands Province, Zimbabwe. Photo © Margaret Chaikosa

More than 40 years after Zimbabwe gained independence, land ownership and control remains a huge challenge for local farmers trying to make ends meet.

Read on to find out how the Berghof Foundation and Africa University’s Insider Mediation Training is helping farmers secure irrigation schemes to water their crops throughout the dry season.

Without official documents for land tenure – a type of law that determines the control farmers can have over land they don’t own – it’s impossible for farmers to secure irrigation infrastructure from local authorities to water their crops. In the Chiwundura Area, Vungu District of Zimbabwe – livelihoods are now at risk.

Margaret Chaikosa works at the Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT). After taking part in the Berghof Foundation and Africa University’s Insider Mediator Training, she decided to bring parties together to try to find a solution.

Dialogue meeting in Midlands Province with farmers on management of agricultural equipment.
Dialogue meeting in Midlands Province with farmers on management of agricultural equipment. Photo © Margaret Chaikosa
A wheat field in the Midlands Province which has been adequately irrigated thanks to the dialogue efforts.
A wheat field in the Midlands Province which has been adequately irrigated thanks to the dialogue efforts. Photo © Margaret Chaikosa
Chairperson of the irrigation scheme explaining how they contracted an outside farmer to use the agricultural equipment, which was the source of the conflict.
Chairperson of the irrigation scheme explaining how they contracted an outside farmer to use the agricultural equipment, which was the source of the conflict. Photo © Margaret Chaikosa
Margaret inspecting a wheat field, which is not doing well because of the conflict on water supply.
Margaret inspecting a wheat field, which is not doing well because of the conflict on water supply. Photo © Margaret Chaikosa

Margaret's goal was to assist farmers in getting boreholes, a type of irrigation infrastructure that pumps water from deep underground to the surface. For this, farmers needed local authorities to grant them the right to make decisions on issues affecting crop output. Such a right would help secure crop yields year on year – supporting entire communities.

The Insider Mediation Training helped me to enhance my capacity and confidenceMargaret Chaikosa

“The Insider Mediation Training helped me to identify networks that the CCMT can leverage to escalate the issue of land rights at the national and policy level. It also enhanced my capacity and confidence. The training approach – focused on negotiation and dialogue to reach a compromise – greatly enhanced our advocacy efforts and impact. As more parties are heard, I sense a greater openness towards finding a solution”, says Margaret about the training.

The parties involved in the dialogue process include the local authority, irrigation service providers, and the irrigation management committee representing farmers.

While conversations are still ongoing, Berghof and Africa University’s Insider Mediation Training is giving local actors the tools to navigate a historical and ever-present disparity: who controls land and livelihoods in Zimbabwe.

 


This project is made possible through the generous support of the European Union.

 

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Contact

Elisabeth Meyer
Strategic Partnerships Manager
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