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Rainbow Tourism Group leads climate change initiative in schools

Solar plant at Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre
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Writes Chimeno Azriel

Rainbow Tourism Group has embarked on fighting climate change in the country and it recently partnered with the Forestry Commission and Environmental Management Agency to launch the tree planting ceremony. The ceremony was held at Sir John Kennedy Primary School in Kadoma and was attended by school heads, teachers from primary and secondary schools, government officials, and environmental organisations.

The partnership of the Forestry Commission (FC) and Rainbow Tourism Group ( RTG) comes at a time when there is a need to inculcate a sense of responsibility and love for the nation’s forests and nature. The two parties launched “A Tree for Every Room” planting program in Sanyati District that is expected to spread to other cities. The colourful event saw RTG handing over 6000 gum trees and 50 fruit trees to 10 Primary and Secondary schools which are running Environmental Clubs.

In a speech read during the official launch, Rainbow Tourism Group Corporate Affairs and Quality Manager, Pride Khumbula urged communities and corporates to come together and make a positive impact on the environment as trees were not only beautiful, but they play a crucial role in sustaining life on Earth.

“Firstly, I want to commend all the students, teachers, and partner organisations – Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, District Development Council, Forestry Commission, Environmental Management Agency and CCBICA who have worked hard to organize this event. It shows commitment to the well-being of our planet. By planting trees today, we are investing in a greener future for ourselves and the generations to come,” Khumbula said.

She said sustainability was the core of the Rainbow Tourism Group business philosophy and the Group was mindful of the impact that their business has on the environment, hence it developed strategies to help reduce its carbon footprint through conservation of water, waste management, and the use of renewable energy.

Mrs Khumbula said the group invested in the solar plant at the Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre.

“In 2022, we invested in a 300KVA solar plant at the Kadoma Hotel & Conference Centre. Our system is grid-tied, which means we generate 200 KVA which goes directly into the ZESA grid, whilst 100 KVA is stored in batteries for the hotel’s direct use,” continued Mrs Khumbula

The Corporate Affairs and Quality Manager spoke on the group’s objectives of the afforestation project which includes Reforestation and Ecosystem Restoration where the group will establish and restore forest ecosystems in targeted schools around Kadoma and the rural areas of Sanyati.

This will increase vegetation cover to mitigate soil erosion, protect watersheds, protect forests and property through the creation of fire guards and windbreaks as well as enhance biodiversity.

Speaking on Climate Change Mitigation, Khumbula said the group will sequester carbon dioxide through the growth and development of forests. This will offset the Group’s carbon footprint which stands at; direct 402,669 Kg CO2 litres (from petrol and diesel) and indirect: 2,536,622 Kg CO2 KWH (derived from electricity generated from fossil fuel coal) with an aim of achieving net zero emissions and contribute to global efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking on Socio-economic Development, Khumbula said the Group will generate employment opportunities and income sources for local communities to enhance food security through agroforestry and sustainable land management practices and to improve access to clean water, renewable energy, and other essential services.

“Today is a testament to our commitment to sustainability and the protection of our planet. Our broad objective is to attain a Net-Zero position where we can offset our carbon footprint by planting trees, migrating to the use of solar renewable, and establishing organic gardens,” said Khumbula.

” Kadoma Is our launch pad and pilot project for the tree planting initiative and the renewable energy drive which from here we are rolling out in all the cities and towns we have hotel operations – Harare, Bulawayo, and Victoria Falls and we chose to start with schools as we want to start at the grass root level by building a culture of environmental awareness and protection and we commend you for the work you are doing through the school environmental clubs and we are here to support your efforts,” said Khumbula

Trees are often called the lungs of the Earth because they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen and they help to clean the air people breathe, making it healthier for all living beings. As communities plant these trees, they are contributing to the fight against climate change and ensuring a cleaner and safer environment for themselves and future generations.

Trees do much more than just clean the air as they provide shade, reducing the heat in the surroundings during hot summer days and they act as natural air conditioners, which is especially important in urban areas where temperatures can rise significantly.

Trees provide windbreaks that protect the infrastructures and also help to prevent soil erosion, filter water, and provide habitats for countless species of animals and birds.

“Today, as we plant these trees, let us remember the responsibility we have towards our environment. Each one of us can make a difference, no matter how small. Whether it is by recycling, conserving water, or simply appreciating the beauty of nature, we can all contribute to a healthier planet and I encourage you to take care of these trees that we plant today and ensure they receive enough water and sunlight to grow strong and healthy. Treat them with love and respect, just as we should treat our environment and the world around us.” said Mrs Khumbula

Trees and Forests are a vital component of society and are inseparable from human lives.

Speaking on the launch, Sanyati District Schools Inspector, Loice Moyo, who was representing Sanyati District Schools Inspector Mr Majasi, said schools and communities derive livelihoods from these trees through tapping from their multiple purposes.

“Tree planting helps to end poverty, combat climate change, and prevent mass extinction of species. The Tree Planting program will only succeed if everyone plays a part,” Moyo said.

The Rainbow Tourism Group walked the talk of not leaving anyone and any place behind in these tree-planting initiatives and the launch in Kadoma is the first of many to come.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende