An increase in natural disasters, a rise in global temperatures, and extreme weather events throughout the 21st century have brought with them some troubling implications for the state of our world due to the effects of climate change. Whilst climate change has detrimental effects on all countries, it is developing countries that suffer the most. This is mainly because they lack the resources needed to properly prepare for and manage climate change-induced disasters. However, there is one person in Zimbabwe who won’t let this continue, Tanyaradzwa Patience Takodza.
Tanyaradzwa is educating primary and secondary schools on climate change. “We need to hold the government accountable but also make micro-level changes on our own. And this can only happen after climate change education.”
As a child, Tanyaradzwa liked planting trees but did not understand their impact on the environment. In Grade 7, she joined the environmental club at school and learned about Environmental Management. That is what inspired her to take a step in this direction.
“Through my project, Green Institute, we aim to improve climate change awareness in schools in the district. The students involved will be named Climate Change Ambassadors and spearhead afforestation, innovation, smart agriculture, and other value-addition localized solutions to climate change projects at their respective schools,” explains Tanyaradzwa.
To date, the Green Institute has managed to reach 5 primary schools and 5 secondary schools in Chipinge. They have also set up climate action clubs and plant demo orchards to encourage young learners to be environmental stewards.
Initially, it was difficult to access the schools, especially at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Tanyaradzwa and the team were determined. “We have managed to set up 10 environmental clubs and 10 orchards in the selected schools in the Chipinge District. Above all, 2 of our club members participated in the local conference on climate change which shows the impact of the project.”
As the recipient of a Pollination Project grant, Tanyaradzwa has some advice for potential grantees. “No amount is too small to make a difference. You need to make a long-lasting impact on the ground.”
Just like Tanyaradzwa who is working to bring about change that will affect her community and the world, everyone has a role to play.