Environmental Education activities among Chongwe rural women of Zambia arising from environmental degradation of their area
Milupi, Delphine Inonge
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Environmental education is vital to Environmental Conservation in order to reduce or stop environmental degradation which in most cases affects women severely. In view of the point that women have the responsibility of taking care of their household resources, degraded environments mean that women must spend more time and effort than ever to manage such household resources which include, among others, collection of firewood, fetching water and producing food. There are many cases which demonstrate that women suffer a lot after the depletion of resources on which they rely. For instance, in India women now spend four to five hours a day collecting firewood where previously they would have done so once every four to five days. Investigating how to address this situation, constituted the research problem of this study as applied to Chongwe area. In this regard, the purpose of this study was firstly to find out how environmental degradation in Zambia affected rural women in general and the Chongwe rural women in particular. Having established this, the second aim of the study was to draw out some environmental education activities from the connection to be so made between environmental degradation and the rural Chongwe women. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative research designs. Questionnaires were administered to some Council workers in Chongwe, high school teachers and a few police officers in the research area. In addition, some short interviews were conducted with sampled Chongwe women. The results were analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences from the qualitative data collected. The study's findings confirmed the reviewed literature assertions that there wasenvironmental degradation in Chongwe area and that such degradation mostly affected women. The study also revealed that there were some environmental education activities taking place in the research area at a very low level.Major recommendations of the study included the need to involve Chongwe residents inEnvironmental Education sensitization so that residents are sensitized on issues affecting their environment. It is hoped that such sensitization would help in reducing environmental degradation in Chongwe area. Another major recommendation is the need to involve women in environmental issues as they were the most affected by effects of environmental degradation as revealed by this research. When women are actively involved, they will understand their environment better and, therefore, will be able to preserve it.