Zimbabwean students join climate strike days before Cyclone Idai devastates the region

20 March 2019

Topics: "climate change" drought emergency "natural disaster"

On March 15, over 1 million students around the world came together to protest inaction on climate change, including students in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo region, which is affected by severe drought. Just days later the importance of their protest was brought in to sharp focus as Cyclone Idai swept across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing more than 350 people and leaving approximately 2 million in need of urgent assistance.

Cyclone Idai is said to have been the worst disaster of its kind to hit the southern hemisphere, and experts have warned that as the world warms up, the climate crisis will make storms like Idai more frequent and more deadly.

Students in drought-stricken Masvingo, Zimbabwe come together to demand action on climate change just days before deadly Cyclone Idai sweeps across the region. Joel Pratley/Act for Peace
The increasing severity of extreme weather events globally is one of the drivers that inspired students around the world to come together and demand politicians take their futures seriously by treating climate change for what it is - a crisis.

Some politicians in Australia have criticised students for walking out of classrooms, but for children in Zimbabwe, climate change is a day to day reality already having a detrimental impact on their education.  Crippling drought has impoverished rural farming families in the Masvingo region. As well as facing hunger, the drought has mean that many children have been pulled out of school when parents were unable to pay tuition fees.

While the impacts of climate change affect every country on every continent, it is the people living in the world's poorest communities who are often the worst affected, like those in rural Zimbabwe.

Act for Peace supporters are helping to respond to this crisis through an innovative food security program called Conversation Farming. Act for Peace staff met with climate protesting students in Zimbabwe last week during a field visit to meet farmers learning how to become more resilient to climate shocks through the program. Learn more about the Conservation Farming program here.

Our local partner in Zimbabwe is working to provide urgent items such as food, tents, blankets and hygiene kits to families devastated by the cyclone.

To donate to our Cyclone Idai Appeal visit actforpeace.org.au/idai or call 1800 025 101.