Kgosi Ezekiel Joel Masilo applauds UB for ASSAR climate change research

Kgosi Ezekiel Masilo of Bobirwa has applauded the University of Botswana for undertaking research on climate change in the Bobirwa sub-district.

Kgosi Masilo was speaking at the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) research project briefing at the University of Botswana on March 7, 2019. The purpose of the event was to give a summary of findings and recommendations of the research. The project was carried out under the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA), with financial support from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada.

The Principal investigator was Professor Hillary Masundire (Faculty of Science).  Other UB ASSAR Team members were:  Professor Maitseo Bolaane (Faculty of Humanities), Prof Nelly Raditloaneng (Faculty of Education), and Mr Ephias Mugari (PhD student).  Ms Chandapiwa Molefe Mmakwena were employed directly by the project.  Other ASSAR researchers who contributed to the work in Botswana were:  Mr Daniel Morchain (Oxfam GB), Prof Mark New, Dr Dian Spear, Dr Salma Hegga, Dr Modathir Zaroug and Dr, Gina Ziervogel and Kulthoum Omari-Motsumi (University of Cape Town) together with Ms Janet Selato (Meteorological Services Department). 

The research comes on the backdrop of devastating climate change effects in the Bobirwa region compounded by persistent droughts and human-wildlife conflict that impact negatively on ploughing patterns.

Kgosi Masilo said climate change was real and the hardest hit was the agricultural sector and communities that depended on natural resources for livelihood. He noted that the region was prone to droughts due climate change, thereby escalating human-wildlife conflicts because animals destroyed farms, crops, and basketry industry along the Limpopo River Basin.

Kgosi Masilo regretted that the situation has led to a tide of rural-urban migration as people search for greener pastures in towns.

Consequently, he commended UB for the ASSAR project and that in brought people from different disciplines and communities together to find ways of adapting to climate change. Accordingly, he said communities were now practicing new methods of ploughing to mitigate the challenges.

Meanwhile, University of Botswana Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, also applauded the research team for heeding to the university call to undertake research influenced by community problems. Professor Norris said such projects contributed towards UB’s mission of engaging relevant stakeholders and communities.

“As a University, these are issues that we must be on the forefront in addressing, and moving away from research that seeks promotions,” said Professor Norris.

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Hon Nonofo Molefhi, assured support to affected communities and the University of Botswana in their efforts to mitigate climate change challenges.

Hon Molefhi said government was also in the process of reviewing policies on climate change. He also advised affected communities to remain resilient to survive under such harsh conditions.

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