Resilience strategies of rural people in the face of climate change in Mazungunye Community, Ward 4, Bikita District, Masvingo Province Zimbabwe: A social work perspective
Asa result of climate change, rural people are facing a number of challenges which includes food insecurity, water scarcity and loss of livestock. Agriculture is the main livelihood factor in Zimbabwe’s rural communities and with the vagaries of climatechange already visible, considerable uncertainty surrounds the agricultural sector in manyrural communitieslike Mazungunye community. The social work profession has a role to play in supporting communities affected by natural disasters around the globe. Equally, like all other stakeholders, social workers are required to respond appropriately in order to address these adverse effects of climate change induced disasters. This study sought to explore the resilience strategies employed in the face of climate change and the role of social workers in mitigating the effects of climate change. A qualitative research method was followed guided by descriptive and exploratory designs. Thirty participants inclusive of community members and key informants were purposively selected to give insights into the study. Focus group discussion and individual interviews were used to collect data. The Thematic Content Analysis was followed to analyse data inductively. The study found that rural people are not passive victims to the impacts of climate change but they are responding to it through a plethora of activities aimed at cushioning their livelihoods. The strategies include, destocking of livestock, barter trade, conservation farming and use of indigenous knowledge systems. Social workers are not actively involved in climate change interventions. It is recommended that the best way to foster adaptive capacity for rural people is to address rural poverty and social workers must take the lead in this initiative.
Key words: Resilience, strategies, rural people, climate change, social work, Bikita