Water remains a precious resource that is vital to peace and development. Tsholotsho is a semi-arid region which receives minimal rainfall and this greatly affects water reservoirs such as boreholes and dams which end up drying up before rainy season. In most cases, people end up competing or sharing water sources with livestock as water sources fast dry up. The few functional boreholes in the various wards are old and not always reliable through the dry spells. When they do break down due to overuse and demand, community members have to contribute money for the repair. Given the harsh economic environment that has seen rural communities being the most affected, some community members fail to make contributions towards the repair of the boreholes. When this happens, most community members accuse those who would have failed to pay contributions as having contributed to the breakdown of the borehole. In some cases, defaulters are even threatened that they will be denied access to water. This has thus created conflict around water sources.
It is against such a background that Isolezwe peace club that operates in Tsholotsho ward 1 carried out a conflict mapping exercises in the month of May. During the conflict mapping exercise, they identified water being the major problem that was fueling most conflicts in the area since the few boreholes in the area were not meeting the community’s water demands. The peace club also identified key stakeholders whom they should engage in order to resolve the conflict.
To engage stakeholders, the peace club identified a collaborative neutral platform as an activity that would rally the community together in preparation for the community dialogue that was going to be convened by Traditional leaders in the area. The nhimbe would also enhance social cohesion and promote peace and encourage community members to live peacefully. The peace club members organized their fellow community members to embark on road maintenance. They selected the road that connects Samahuru clinic and Sadaka clinic. Shrubs had blocked the road made it difficult for vehicles to transport medicals to Samahuru clinic and Sadoka clinic.
The peace club also managed to mobilize community members from Ward 1 who saw the need to actively participate since Samahuru clinic was beneficial to the whole community.Kraalhead, Reuben Ndlovu highlighted to the community that the purpose of the ilima was to educate the community on the importance and need for peace in the community. “Today we are gathered here and our message is clear, peace begins with all of us, as it is important for development, he said. The ilima was attended by 50 community members from the area and the peace club working with Traditional leaders will convene a community dialogue where they will discuss on possible ways to end water conflicts in the area.
The nhimbe is part of Heal Zimbabwe community peace clubs initiative to help end and minimize conflicts within communities. Other initiatives aimed at building social capital spearheaded by peace clubs include soccer for peace tournaments and women safe spaces for peace among other activities with the aim of encouraging and building peace and tolerance among community members.