Working with UNICEF as a UN volunteer over the past year, my assignment included building awareness among staff on climate change, its impact and how we can mitigate its effects. I also advocate for sustainable practices in the way people consume energy and resources and manage waste both at work and in their personal lives. These efforts are in line with one of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 13: to improve education, awareness-raising, human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.
This call closed on 9 June 2019. In March and April 2019, Southern Africa was hit by two subsequent cyclones that left a trail of damage and destruction in their path. In Zimbabwe, the floods burst rivers, and mudslides resulted in the loss of lives and livelihoods, severely damaging road networks, water points, bridges, irrigation schemes and electricity infrastructure. UNV is currently working to urgently recruit national and international UN Volunteers to support recovery initiatives by UNDP in Zimbabwe.
Many communities in Zimbabwe continue to suffer from unprecedented impacts of climate change and climate variability, with the impact felt harshest by the most vulnerable poor communities. From October 2015 to February 2016, for example, the country received less than 60 per cent of its long-term average rainfall, which proved to be the driest rainy season in the last 35 years. This change in climate has ravished the expected harvests and pushed many Zimbabweans into poverty and food insecurity.
Simuka Africa Youth Association was established in 2006 in response to the growing number of challenges that were affecting young people in Zimbabwe. It was during the time when the country was in the midst of political and socioeconomic turmoil, characterised by high youth unemployment, a high HIV and AIDS prevalence rate of 20.1 per cent among those aged 15-49, a historic hyperinflation, declining health educational services among other social and economic ills.
Harare, Zimbabwe: When Amy Wickham, an international UN Volunteer, joined the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Zimbabwe, she didn't know what to expect. Yet this experience changed her life. "The experience and exposure that I've got since I started as a volunteer has been phenomenal", she says. "The ownership that I've been given over the projects, as well as the time and responsibility that I've been given from professionals that I've worked with has been fantastic."