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Following closely on the heels of their World Wetlands Day event at Marlborough Vlei, the Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Schools Programme held a very well-attended Commemoration of World Water Day on Friday March 28.

The setting was Haka Park by Cleveland Dam and hundreds of schoolchildren of all ages from a total five primary and four secondary schools across the city turned out for the enjoyable and informative event.

Representatives from Mukuvisi Woodlands Council, BirdLife Zimbabwe, Zinwa, including Upper Manyame Catchment Area, the Harare City Council, and private companies involved in water, and the media, showed up in force.

The weather was perfect, and groups of children were taken by their teachers to see the dam and its environs and hear about the history of the dam from Zinwa speakers and the principles of the water cycle, energy from water and water storage.

They were also shown how to test the quality and clarity of the water in the dam and later, Belvedere Technical College students demonstrated how energy is derived from water, using models they had constructed. Students from the University of Zimbabwe and Bindura University also came to the event and assisted as facilitators.

After all the children had been on their tours, they gathered at the central marquee to enjoy poems, readings, recitals, plays and songs on the themes of water, energy from water, and the vital role of wetlands in the water cycle.

These presentations were skilfully and enthusiastically delivered by the children themselves, who had come well-prepared and showed their in-depth knowledge of all the issues.

Talks were also given by adult speakers. A g emphasis was placed on the role and importance of wetlands both by the adult and the school-going speakers, once again highlighting the critical situation we face as more and more wetlands are destroyed by construction, dumping and cultivation.

Speaking out particularly gly on the wetlands crisis was Councillor Chris Mbanga who is Chairman of the City Council’s Environmental Committee.

He likened wetland destruction to murder, since not far down the line at all, the residents of Harare face a future without water, if this rampant destruction is not stopped.

Equally outspoken on the subject was Chairperson of the Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Schools Committee, Mrs Shamu, teacher at Mufakose 2 High School, who gave a very stirring speech about the gravity of this situation, to thunderous applause.

Most major wetlands (vleis) in Harare which are vital for our continued supply of clean water, are under constant threat of destruction by building developments, regardless of the fact they are legally protected from any such activity.

Other speakers included Gibson Nhokwara, organiser of the event and the Coordinator of the Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Schools Programme, BirdLife representatives, and Zinwa’s Operations Manager who delivered a speech on behalf of Zinwa’s CEO.

After the presentations and formalities, some groups of children took up Haka Park’s offer of game drives through the game park, while other groups headed for Mukuvisi Woodlands to go on tours there.

This was an excellent event and another demonstration of environmental education in action, bringing to life for the children, what can never be fully understood just from reading, pictures and computer screens.

The Mukuvisi Woodlands Eco Schools Programme is part of its environmental education outreach efforts and is highly effective in consolidating environmental principles and practices through the hands-on experience it affords children of all ages.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard

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