Effectively Responding to Climate Change and Improving Biodiversity

Utariri promotes community stewardship, sustainable livelihoods, and water and wildlife management.

© Patience Ukama

DCA Zimbabwe

The Issue

Ecological balance in the middle and lower Zambezi Valley, an area between the Victoria Falls UNESCO World Heritage site and the Luangwa River on the Zimbabwe and Zambia border has been devastated by poor ecological policies, climate change, human wild-life conflict, biodiversity loss, and illegal extractive activities.

DCA is interveening to support communities living along the basin, long forgotten and left vulnerable in a compromised ecosystem.

The Project

The “Utariri” (Stewardship) programme is addressing climate change, livelihoods, and biodiversity challenges in the Zambezi Valley with funding from the Swedish Embassy in Zimbabwe and the support of five national partners.

Utariri is promoting community stewardship, sustainable livelihoods, water, and wildlife management in response to frequent cases of poaching, firewood extraction and human wildlife conflict.

The DCA led Utariri integrated biodiversity, climate change, and livelihoods programme is creating diversified livelihoods options steering communities away from negative ecological activities which expose them to inherent dangers such as crocodile attacks when engaging in stream-bank cultivation. By building resilience capacity of 12,000 households in the Zambaezi Valley, the programme has introduced 400 households to mushroom production through training.

Another 2,540 have been equipped with agro-starter packs, while 50 households have started bee-keeping (apiculture). The programme has also establishing five horticulture sites each supporting 20 rightsholders.

When crocodiles attack

It was early morning, around 7 AM, and the heat was just settling in. Brightness, a 26-year-old mother of a playful five-year-old boy, was going about her daily chores. Brightness went to fetch water from the river as she did every day. Upon reaching the river she put her bucket into the river and immediately a crocodile rushed at her and bore into her right leg. Instinctively she screamed. Then just as suddenly her bucket was gone, and she was being dragged into the water. Only then did the shock and horror of her reality began to sink in.

Read Brightness’ full story

Achievements by mid-2024:

  • people reached DIRECTLY by this project: Male: 419  Female: 304
  • farmers with improved food and income generation capacities: 718
  • farmers supported with small grain seed packs: 2,150
  • farmers who recieved training and mushroom farming starter kits: 400
  • lead farmers trained on cowpea and sorghum production: 88
  • community scouts graduated from the Zimbabwe Institute of Wildlife Conservation in 2023: 28
  • community scouts trained in 57
  • community scouts equipped with gear and equipment: 57
  • trees to be planted across the Zambezi Valley Landscape: 400,000
  • school environmental clubs established: 45
  • average members per school environmental club: 15


The project is implemented by dedicated Zimbabwean partners under the Utariri brand:

About the project
  • Title:  Utariri “Stewardship” Programme
  • Period: August 2022 – December 2025
  • Partner:  www.utariri.org
  • Amount: USD5.5 million
  • DCA Strategy Theme: Build Resilient Communities
  • Number of people reached (est): 12,000
  • Donor: Embassy of Sweden
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