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Face to Face with Walk Against Litter man - Fungai Chiposi

by Staff reporter
24 July 2014 | 3117 Views
"First they will laugh, then they will frown, but eventually they will join me."

This is how Proudly Zimbabwean Foundation (PZF) founding trustee Fungai Chiposi summed up his work under PZF, an environmental awareness organisation that compliments its work with that of local authorities to keep cities clean.

Born and bred in one of the oldest and dirtiest suburbs of Mbare, Harare, Chiposi says he now understands most problems associated with an unclean environment and is determined to make a difference.

Mbare is litter infested, with rivulets of raw sewer a constant eyesore. Parts of the city centre are also dirty with litter all over the streets.

Chiposi wants to turn this around and bring back the sunshine to Harare as the city was known back then.

He also wants to make sure Zimbabwe gets to be known as one of the cleanest countries in the world after the campaign.

To achieve this, Chiposi said he would in February walk a 1 000km-journey from Plumtree in Matebeleland South through Bulawayo, Gweru and Masvingo, to Forbes Border Post in Manicaland, aiming to raise awareness and funds for his clean-environment project. The great trek is supposed to take three months, he says.

If he does achieve the feat, Chiposi would become the second person in Zimbabwe to walk for 1 000 kilometres after the "wheelbarrow man", Joseph Chinhongo, albeit who walked from Beitbridge to Botswana in 2012 pushing a wheelbarrow full of his possessions saying he was "running away from avenging spirits".

"It may sound crazy, but I will walk for three months in rainy, cold and hot weather, and camp alongside highways.

"Along the way, I will be educating people and encouraging municipals on the need to improve sanitation and the importance of a clean environment," he said.

According to Chiposi, the walk would also be used to fundraise for the Bin-It-Zimbabwe programme which is a brainchild of the PZF.

"The Green Walk will show Africa a united Zimbabwe as we will ask even ordinary Zimbabweans and those in the Diaspora to be agents of change in our quest for a better and clean Zimbabwe," said Chiposi.

He said funds raised will also be used to finance the activities of the foundation's campaign which includes door to door, placing billboards throughout the country.

Schools anti-littering programme will also be funded by proceeds from the walkathon in order to "catch them young" in the campaign to sustain the environment.

Last year Chiposi brought together 24 corporate entities that form PZF, and installed 300 pole-litter bins in the streets of the capital, as well as special drum bins to accommodate metal and heavy waste in industrial areas under the Bin-It Zimbabwe campaign.

The campaign spilled to other cities, including Bulawayo, Gweru and Bindura, while massive clean ups were carried twice in Harare Central Business District (CBD), Mbare and other low density suburbs.

"Harare's (CBD) has 33km-streets, and in 2012 only 9km had litter bins. Last year we managed to increase the bins by 80% under the Bin-It initiative and now we have litter bins in 27km of the CBD," said Chiposi.

Under the Bin-It initiative, the foundation recruited about 30 litter monitors in Harare who worked in the CBD cautioning litter-bugs (people who litter in public places) expecting the council to pick the litter after them.

"When we placed litter monitors in the CBD, there was so much improvement, the mindset of people was beginning to change and we hope the council could maintain that following our withdrawal," the budding environmentalist said.

Chiposi is, however, willing to have more litter monitors enrolled into the CBD upon the success of his walk.

"If we manage to raise funds for the funding of Bin-It-Zimbabwe we could recruit more monitors into Harare to begin with," Chiposi said.

Harare City Council waste management director Dombo Chibanda said it was worth recognising efforts being made by PZF, saying the council had increased the number of city council cleaners in the CBD.

Environmental Management Authority (EMA) publicity manager Steady Kangata welcomed the move, but said the "green walk" should translate into action and resource mobilisation.

"We have done a lot of talking around the issues of littering so what we need now is action, this year we should not allow window dressing or ceremonial campaigns," said Kangata.

Kangata said towards the end of 2013, EMA was working closely with ZRP and had arrested 703 litterbugs, adding that more improved approaches would be implemented this year.

He said EMA on countless occasions fined the local authority over non refuse collection and management.

Full Name: Fungai Chiposi    

Date of Birth: 1 October 1973

Hometown: MBARE

Firstly, who is Fungai?
I am a Communist. I am a community builder. I am passionate about developing communities in Zimbabwe and growing a responsible citizenry that will drive this country into a prosperous future.

You have been described as a trail-blazer, an inspiration to many, the next mayor of Harare some have even said the next President how do you respond to that?

The tendency for many is to go into politics for the money or the influence. I believe African game-changers will not come from political grouping but community developers working closely with the political and local authority bodies. I have no plans to become the Mayor of any city and being President is way beyond my abilities.

When did you start your community work?

I seriously started community work in 2008 after the drama of 2007.

What made you start Proudly Zimbabwean?

I was chatting with a South African currently in the UK about Zimbabwe on Facebook 2009. When I told her I was from Zimbabwe, she said she had no respect for Zimbabweans because they lacked pride in their country. She said all Zimbabweans she had met pretended to be South Africans or anything other than Zimbabwe. This prompted me to start a Facebook group with that name.

Tell us about P Z, how did that name come about?

Please see above

Tell us about the challenges you have faced?

The Foundation has battled to get the support of ordinary Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora who should be the key drivers of the foundation.

What about the highlights, what has been the most memorable event you have done?

1.    We were the first local NGO to clean-up whole CBDs of Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru using volunteers who are not bussed nor coerced. The people came simply because they desired to see a transformation of their cities.
2.    We put bins in Harare CBD in a structured format that demonstrated that a well thought out plan can be implemented to resolve the issues of litter in Harare. In the process we brought 24 corporates together under than program
3.    In a first ever such event in Zimbabwe and possibly Africa, I walked 1000km across Zimbabwe in an effort to bring more attention to litter.

Your Walk to raise awareness for litter?

It was the most difficult thing I have ever done. It was not easy and I had so many small things stacked against me throughout the walk.

What made you walk?

The GREEN history of Zimbabwe is dominated by what white people have done for this country. Mostly it is about how Charlene Hewat cycled from Europe for rhinos. We did not have indigenous people that have sacrificed to preserve our environment. I believe I changed that with the walk.

Was the timing correct?

Maybe not but the correct time would have never arrived. I would have procrastinated ad infinitum waiting for the economic environment to be right.

Do you feel you achieved your objectives?

Partly. I managed to raise awareness at different levels as intended but miserably failed to raise any cash for the foundation.

What challenges did you face during the walk?

1.    I had to walk in the night twice. I blame my never say die attitude
2.    I walked in office shoes initially and developed some of the most horrible blisters ever.
3.    Slept in funny places a couple of times
4.    Lost a lot of weight due to a poor diet

What should Zimbabweans do to help the Environment?

We should start caring. This is the only Zimbabwe there is. Our only home. We have to mind how we live here.

Your flat is burning down, what would you grab.

Definitely my Laptop if people are safe.

What music do you currently have on repeat on your ipod?

I am a great fan of ENYA. I love Lauryn Hill. I think Kudzai Sevenzo and Chiwoniso are amazing. Roki lit me up for a lifetime. Dereck Mpofu is cause celebre. I have bits of them on my phone.

What does the future hold?

I am very low on inspiration currently. I am hoping someone will come along and light me up.

What is the broader strategic Vision

Zimbabwe will not be developed by politicians. Zimbabwe will be developed by Zimbabweans. Everyone must be made to realise this self-evident truth and play their part in communities, in the environment and in the country.

Zimbabwe will be SADC region's economic and development centre with the highest GDP per capita by 2030.

Tell us about your future, if you had a crystal ball what would you like to see?

I would like to see Zimbabwe in 50 years. As for me personally, I would like to see 2018 because I have been made a promise.

How do you handle groupies?

Who are those? I have friends

Whats the nicest thing that a friend has ever said to you?

"You can do it." She is a firm believer in me. I hear her words and I try harder.

What was the last book you read?

Mmm.. I do not remember really. Can you imagine that? I used to read everything.

Are you married?

Can I skip this one madame?

Bin it 2017 will you achieve your goal to see a Litter free Zimbabwe ?

To be honest I am not sure

Any words of advice to Law makers and Zimbabweans

This is our country. Let's have a sense of ownership.

Dereck Mpofu- Denga Rinonzi Zimbabwe
Dereck Mpofu - Chisikana Changu Zimbabwe
Salif Keita - Africa
Enya - Amarantine
Chiwoniso - Wandirasa
Kudzai Sevenzo - Child of Africa


Litter Fungai Chiposi

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Source: Zim Mail


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