Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
TWO post-graduate students have been awarded research grants to conduct studies on weather conditions to enable communities in disaster-prone areas in Zimbabwe to avert loss of life and property.
The students got the grants from the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS).
The grants, worth US$2 500, will see the two students, Mr Charles Reza from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and Mr Donald Chikoto from Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), conduct scientific research towards attainment of their Masters degrees.
ZRCS is implementing the forecast-based action project in identified disaster-prone communities across the country with financial and technical support from the Danish and Finnish Red Cross.
“Two candidates have been awarded research grants to conduct studies on weather conditions to enable communities in disaster-prone areas to prepare in advance to avert loss of life and property.
“The two selected candidates responded to the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society’s Call for Research Proposals that was flighted early this year.
They were selected based on their proposals’ suitability into the forecast-based action initiative for disaster risk reduction,” said ZRCS secretary-general Mr Elias Hwenga.
He said there have been growing calls for a scientific-based approach to disaster risk reduction hence his organisation through the forecast-based action project was taking steps towards building a strong research base by linking up with academic institutions and supporting research studies being conducted by university students.
“On a global scale, the United Nations’ Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) reiterates the need for science and evidence-based actions to improve lives, livelihoods and health,” said Mr Hwenga.
He said ZRCS has taken an initiative to build a scientific base that will inform its disaster response activities and policies.
Mr Reza is studying towards attainment of a Master of Science degree in Disaster Management.
His research is titled “The cascade effect of Cyclone Idai on malaria transmissions in at-risk communities while exploring disaster risk reduction alternatives.”
Mr Chikoto, who is studying towards attainment of a Master of Science degree in Gender and Policy Studies, is doing a research titled “Cyclone and floods prediction using indigenous knowledge forecasting indicators among vulnerable rural people in Chivi South, Masvingo”.