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Breaking news. – The Herald

Tendai Rupapa in Bubi

The country’s Patron for the Environment and Wildlife First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, yesterday braved the scorching heat in Bubi (Maranda) under Mwenezi district to lead in the planting of over 700 fruit and indigenous trees as part of steps to reclaim forests and mitigate the effects of climate change.

The tree planting awareness campaign comes as a precursor to the National Tree Planting Day, an annual event to be presided over by President Mnangagwa on the first Saturday of December.

Among trees planted was the tree of the year called Muunga/Acacia.

Amai Mnangagwa also launched the clay coating broadcasting seed balls innovate concept.

In this method, people sow the seeds by randomly scattering them on the land, while walking around whereupon when it rains the clay coating is dissolved, allowing the seed to germinate.

To show her seriousness with the programme, the First Lady led the community in planting the trees at three different points, namely the school orchard at Bubi Secondary, the verge of the forest and in the middle of the forest as part of measures to reclaim forests.

Addressing the gathering, the First Lady reiterated the need to shift focus from tree planting to tree growing in order to achieve sustainable conservation.

She encouraged people to take action at an individual level and utilize the seed ball broadcasting concept which is eco-friendly and easy to undertake.

Bubi Secondary School students plant fruit trees in their orchard during a tree planting programme initiated by Environment and Wildlife patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in Mwenezi yesterday

As the wildlife ambassador, Dr Mnangagwa underscored the need for more CAMPFIRE programmes that ensure sufficient revenue accrues to the community.

She further paid glowing tribute to the people of Masvingo for voting resoundingly for President Mnangagwa in the recent elections.

“Allow me to thank Masvingo Province for retaining President Mnangagwa so that he continues with the work he started. Ndinokutendai Masvingo and this also allows me to continue with my programmes and to introduce new ones. I am gratified to be among you as we teach one another about climate change which we are experiencing.

“We must protect our forests. Hot conditions and the change of seasons is the climate change we are talking about. Felling trees and burning forests aides climate change and leads to poor rainfall patterns. If floods come, we will be washed away because the area will be bare, our livestock will be washed away as well.

“Trees can take 100 years to grow but we are chopping them down. Let us desist from cutting down trees because they take long to grow. Trees have many benefits, yet we are cutting them down,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa enquired on the importance of trees, eliciting a lot of responses from the gathering.

“This is where the oxygen we breathe comes from,” said one contributor.

A second respondent said trees provided traditional herbs, shade and pastures.

The First Lady weighed in with many other benefits.

“We also get fruits, soil protection and restoration, disaster risk reduction. Afforestation majorly aims to provide more habitats for animals and wildlife. This season we are likely to get low rainfall so after tree planting let us practise tree growing so that we protect the trees we have planted.

“Let us not procrastinate and when it rains, make sure you plant trees on your homestead especially fruit trees.

“Climate change is not affecting Zimbabwe alone but the whole world. The Forestry Commission learnt technology from other countries and brought about the method of broadcasting seed balls. This initiative compliments President Mnangagwa’s vision for the realisation of Vision 2030,” she said.

An Iyasa drama and dance group member displays a banner promoting the preservation of trees and clean environment during a tree planting programme organised by Environment and Wildlife patron First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in Mwenezi yesterday

The tree selected for this year, Dr Mnangagwa said, was the Acacia/Muunga.

“On my way here I witnessed that trees were cut. As patron of the environment, I say whatever happened is now behind us, let us move forward and look after our trees. Burning forests is chasing away our animals,” she said.

Amai Mnangagwa sought to know the benefits of wild animals.

School children said the country gets foreign currency through the sale of by-products while others said people get meat.

“Money brought in by professional hunters vanouya zviripamutemo (those who are licensed to hunt) helps develop our communitues, including building clinics,” she said.

The mother of the nation also tackled social issues when she sought to know how people were living harmoniously.

“How are you living in the homes? Is there love in the homes? Where is gender-based violence emanating from?” she asked.

Mrs Mavis Sibanda responded: “Love requires women to submit to their husbands, cook and do their laundry.”

A man said love was invisible but the way one lived with others in the community painted a picture of him that was good or bad.

“The Bible says, love your neighbour the way you love yourself,” he said.

Mrs Evelyn Chamboko, spoke on the need for the married couples to accord each other conjugal rights.

“Granting one another conjugal rights chases trouble from the home. Husbands and wives must love one another and avoid domestic violence which mainly affects children,” she said.

Women carry mealie meal and food hampers they received from First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in Mwenezi yesterday

Dr Mnangagwa took time to sow the seeds of love and peace.

She gave the gathering, including traditional chiefs the disabled and the elderly, food hampers.

School children also received stationery, food hampers and reusable sanitary pads while pregnant women received baby preparation kits courtesy of Amai Mnangangwa.

Representing the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife Professor Munyaradzi Shoko from the Forestry Commission praised the First Lady for her unwavering stance in promoting environmental issues.

“Since 2021, you never backtracked on the issue of planting trees.

“Today this is the fifth province in which you have led in tree planting. You tasked us Amai to be innovative on tree planting and we came up with seed ball broadcasting which you launched today. Through your guidance, we are on track towards achieving our target of 25 million trees,” he said.

He listed culprits in cutting down trees.

“Our main culprits after our analysis is Mashonaland West. Even though Mashonaland Central cuts down trees also, they are planting them back. Masvingo particularly Chiredzi is now bare.

Those who are protecting trees are Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands Provinces. Amai we are happy with your work to curb climate change through tree-planting,” he said.

An expert from the Forestry Commission Mr Lewis Radzire, explained how the new broadcasting method works.

“The advantage of seed ball broadcasting is to enhance restoration and regeneration of degraded forests. You would find that unlike broadcasting open seed, these seeds are coated with clay so that when the rains come, they open the seed and allow it to germinate. Our forests are heavily degraded so we are starting with broadcasting by hands.

“We are taking a leaf from what has been done also in countries like Kenya. Two weeks back the country committed to regenerating the whole country so this concept is very user friendly and adaptable to most of our forests. As Forestry Commission we are advocating for this seed ball,” he said

An elderly woman is assisted in carrying her mealie meal and a food hamper she received from First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa in Mwenezi yesterday. — Pictures: John Manzongo

Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Ezra Chadzamira, thanked the First Lady for her benevolence and for visiting the province.

“Today you have come to this hot area. This shows your love for the environment and the people. Distance is not a barrier to you Amai. We are thankful you brought us 60 tonnes of maize meal, food hampers and baby preparation kits,” he said.

Bubi villagers expressed gratitude to the First Lady for her awareness campaign and promised to look after their trees.

Bulawayo based arts group IYASA provided edutainment against cutting down of trees and veld fires.

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Govt overhauls vocational training programmes – NewsDay

The new strategic framework for the modernisation and transformation of vocational training systems has already been approved by Cabinet, Youth Empowerment and Development minister Tinoda Machakaire said yesterday.

GOVERNMENT is overhauling vocational skills training at its centres across the country to ensure that graduates meet the demands of the current job market.

The new strategic framework for the modernisation and transformation of vocational training systems has already been approved by Cabinet, Youth Empowerment and Development minister Tinoda Machakaire said yesterday.

Machakaire made the remarks while addressing 1 501 graduands from Magamba Vocational Training Centre in Manicaland province.

He said the new framework would facilitate the review of skills training and programmes to modernise the vocational training system (VTS) and transform vocational training centres (VTCs) into modern centres of excellence.

“The framework which was developed through wide consultations will facilitate the review of the skills training system and programmes to modernise the VTS and transform VTCs into centres of excellence,” he said.

“The VTCs are expected to provide relevant skills for youth empowerment and the socio-economic development of the communities which these VTCs serve as required by Heritage Education 5.0.”

Education 5.0 is a five-mission model of teaching, research, community service, innovation and industrialisation.

The VTCs have a mandate to develop an entrepreneurial and self-reliant culture among the Zimbabwean youth.

Machakaire pleaded with industry and commerce to support VTCs in their communities as part of their corporate social responsibility to contribute towards the youth economic empowerment agenda.

“The youth empowerment agenda requires the concerted and collaborative efforts of us all — government, development partners, the private sector and community leadership in general,” he said.

“Vocational training and skills development is one of the youth development and empowerment strategies that my ministry is pursuing as an integral cog in Zimbabwe`s industrial development agenda.”

Machakaire, however, admitted that VTCs were facing various challenges related to underfunding.

“I have been informed that some of your challenges include dilapidated infrastructure, inadequate staff, obsolete tools and equipment including the unavailability of reliable vehicles,” he said.

“This strategic framework which is to be implemented should adequately deal with the above challenges.”

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Zim targets to plant 25 million trees – NewsDay

The call was made during a Tree Planting Day event held at Hillside Primary School in Bulawayo where the FCZ planted about 80 exotic, indigenous and 170 fruit trees.

The Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ) has called on citizens to plant as many trees as possible to reach the 25 million target set for the current rainy season.

The call was made during a Tree Planting Day event held at Hillside Primary School in Bulawayo yesterday where the FCZ planted about 80 exotic, indigenous and 170 fruit trees.

The event was held under the theme Trees and forests for Ecosystem Restoration and Improved Livelihoods.

Addressing participants, FCZ chief conservator of forests, Armstrong Tembo, emphasised the need for reforestation.

“Our target for this tree planting season, at a national level, is 25 million. We are aiming to have planted these trees by the end of this tree planting season. For Bulawayo, our target is 30 000; we think these can be planted within our province,” he said.

Tembo urged people to communicate when tree planting occurs so that records and statistics are kept to track progress on the targeted number of trees to be planted.

 “A lot of the time trees are planted, at homes, schools, like here but we lack communication or networking so we are able to capture that information,” he said.

Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution secretary, Paul Nyoni, commended the tradition of planting trees annually.

“Our tree of the year is ‘vachellia xanophloea’, Umkhanyakude, muunga, fever tree. This is a medium-sized tree which reaches 25 metres in height at maturity, making it an attractive and decorative indigenous tree species that is now found even outside its home range,” he said.

Nyoni urged the public to plant many types of trees and varieties that are available remembering that planting many species increases survival chances.

Zimbabwe commemorates National Tree Planting Day on the first Saturday of December.

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Breaking news – Chronicle

Wallace Ruzvidzo, Harare Bureau

ZIMBABWE has managed to control the HIV/Aids pandemic and ultimately achieve the 95-95-95 Joint United Nations Programme (UNAids) targets on HIV/Aids resulting in a decrease in infections and deaths, President Mnangagwa has said.

As of this year, only three Sub-Saharan African countries including Zimbabwe have achieved the UNAids 95-95-95 objectives.

In addition to the achievements, Zimbabwe’s Anti-Retroviral Therapy coverage currently stands at 99 percent of the 1,3 million HIV positive people.

UNAids 95-95-95, denotes that 95 percent of people on treatment have their viral load undetectable, while 95 percent of all HIV-positive people know their status and 95 percent of those who know their status are on treatment.

Over the past 10 years, Zimbabwe has recorded the highest decline of 78 percent, in new HIV infections in Eastern and Southern Africa, making the country a trendsetter in HIV prevention and treatment.

In his speech to mark World Aids Day commemorations today, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had recorded tremendous gains in fighting the pandemic, albeit under adversity.

He said ultimately, Zimbabwe was committed to working towards ending HIV/Aids by 2030.

The theme of this year’s commemorations is “Let Communities Lead”.

“We join others in the comity of nations in celebrating the achievements recorded to date and recommit ourselves to ending HIV/ Aids.

“Despite the negative impact of Covid-19, our country’s response to HIV remains on course. I am, therefore, pleased to announce that we have achieved epidemic control.

“Presently, new infections are now less than the number of deaths per year. Over the past 10 years, Zimbabwe recorded the highest decline of 78 percent in new HIV infections in Eastern and Southern Africa,” he said.

President Mnangagwa however, charged the nation not to be complacent but rather redouble efforts to “mop up new infections” as well as increase focus on the most-at-risk groups.

He applauded the countrywide community engagement activities such as those being spearheaded by the First Lady, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, saying they were going a long way in eradicating the pandemic.

“The enthusiasm and participation during the countrywide community engagement campaigns being undertaken by the First Lady, Amai Mnangagwa, complemented by other Community-Based Organisations, is encouraging.

“The key messages on the importance of utilising HIV prevention services along with the importance of strong families, morally upright young people and an empowered society, remain critical to our intervention strategies.

“In addition to the progress we have recorded in HIV prevention, our country has increased the Anti-Retroviral Therapy coverage to 99% of the 1,3 million HIV-positive people,” he said.

President Mnangagwa emphasised the need for the drug and substance abuse menace to be tackled head-on, as it is aiding new HIV infections.

He also implored the Ministry of Health and Child Care as well as relevant stakeholders to up the ante in HIV treatment coverage among children, saying a lackadaisical approach to this is not acceptable.

“However, it is most unfortunate that coverage is lagging behind among children, with HIV status known for only 64 percent of those estimated to be living with HIV. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

“As parents and guardians, we must be more responsible to save the lives of our children and young people. I, therefore, challenge the Ministry of Health and Child Care, stakeholders as well as partners to scale up the necessary interventions, including by ensuring that all pregnant women register for antenatal care,” said the President.

“We must also tackle head-on the new drug abuse epidemic that is threatening the future of our young people and the nation. Apart from destroying the moral and intellectual fabric of our nation, drug abuse has been strongly associated with new HIV infections. We must be united as a nation in confronting this menace.”

President Mnangagwa said the country stands ready to share lessons with others around Zimbabwe’s homegrown solutions in combating HIV/Aids, as it hosts the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (Icasa 2023) next week.

“In a few days’ time, our country is host to the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (Icasa 2023). The Conference is an important platform for sharing and exchanging cutting-edge evidence and lessons in the response to HIV and other epidemics afflicting our continent and the world.

“I would like to express our gratitude to our funding and development partners who have continued to augment domestic resources over the years, and enhanced the achievements we have made.

“It is also encouraging that the 2nd International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa High Level Meeting of Finance Ministers from Africa, will be meeting on the sidelines of this continental event to discuss issues related to sustainable domestic funding for HIV/Aids.

“In this regard, Zimbabwe stands ready to share lessons around our home-grown National Aids Trust Fund, commonly known as the Aids Levy, which has been instrumental in the successes we continue to score,” he said.

The Second Republic, said the President, would continue implementing measures to strengthen the country’s responsiveness to HIV/Aids.

He also commended the Ministry of Health and Child Care as well as the National Aids Council and other development partners for a well-coordinated response to the pandemic, pursuant to ending it by 2030.

“I want to assure the nation that my Government will continue to play its part, by exploring robust mechanisms to enhance the national response to HIV/Aids and related emergencies.

“Empowered communities shall remain at the centre of our initiatives and key to our country’s response. I commend the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Aids Council for co-ordinating the response to the pandemic.

“My gratitude also goes to all stakeholders, development partners and communities for their dedication and fruitful work in pursuit of ending Aids by 2030.

“With these remarks, I wish the nation, memorable commemorations of the World Aids Day,” said President Mnangagwa.

The Head of State and Government encouraged the nation to also decisively deal with other emerging epidemics.

“The progress we have made in response to HIV has to be sustained. Let us equally remain vigilant in dealing with emerging epidemics, including the associated Non-Communicable Diseases.

“Our people must, therefore, be screened regularly for common Non-Communicable Diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes and kidney ailments, among others,” he said.

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