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With All We Can, I get to work with some incredible people. Today I want to tell you a bit about Clever, someone I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with for several years.
Clever is familiar with change. As the son of a Methodist minister, he moved around a lot as a child. Over his lifetime, he has seen monumental changes in his country, from Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 to the country’s rebirth as Zimbabwe in 1980, to the political, economic and health-related challenges of the last few decades.
During these tumultuous changes, Clever has been a driving force within the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe to bring about positive changes in his country. From supporting Methodist ministers to engage with local challenges to leading an organisation that promotes community-led solutions to poverty, Clever has been at the forefront of helping some of Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable people overcome challenges to live with dignity.
Like most other people in Zimbabwe, Clever is acutely aware of a change that poses a massive threat to the people he has given his life to serve. Climate change.
We know that climate change is going have widespread consequences in Zimbabwe. Scientists and policy makers are predicting an increased number of disastrous events like drought and flooding, which will be exacerbated by increased temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and longer mid-season dry spells. It is the people Clever’s work has always focused on – the most vulnerable – who are going to be the most affected by these changes.
Consider the two thirds of Zimbabwe’s population who live in rural areas, around 76% of whom live below the poverty line and rely on rain to farm small plots of land, growing crops and vegetables to sustain themselves. For such people, climate change is not the political football it is so often seems to be in national or global debates. It is the reality of having less food on the table than ever before and not knowing whether you’ll be able to scrape enough together to cover the cost of simple items like school books, soap or sugar.
People like Clever are the reason I love working for All We Can. We work with inspiring local people and organisations who work tirelessly in the face of major challenges to bring about positive change, change that will benefit people not just today but for generations to come. Climate change is a significant challenge and one that requires leadership and action at the global and national level. At the same time, people like Clever are also necessary to inspire, lead and support local actions to help those most exposed to the threat of climate change become less vulnerable to the big changes coming their way.
You can find out more about some of the people Clever and his colleagues are helping to diversify their livelihoods so they are less reliant on growing rain fed crops in this year’s Harvest materials. I hope you are as inspired as I am!
Stephanie is All We Can's Partnership Manager for Zimbabwe and also leads All We Can's work to find ways to support the capacity development of the local organisations and churches we work with across the world.