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Faith Kudzai Chihumbiri

Faith Kudzai Chihumbiri



Faith Kudzai Chihumbiri


South Africa

Programme of Study

PhD in Natural Resources Sciences

  1. You were chosen as a beneficiary of this scholarship, out of several applicants across the SADC region. How does this make you feel?
  1. I feel very excited, and with that a sense of responsibility too for me to use my skills and talent in contributing towards addressing the complex challenges of water resource management within the water scarce region of southern Africa.

    It goes without saying that I thank God for the opportunity to have been selected as a beneficiary of such a prestigious award and I am thankful SASSCAL and NUST for the opportunity.

  1. What motivated you to take up studies in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)?
  1. With over 14 years of experience working on various programmes and projects focusing on promoting sustainable development, I have come to appreciate water as the key currency that not only connects human health and well-being but also underpins all sectors of development. However, there is a growing demand for water and this could be attributed to population growth, economic development, rapid urbanisation and the wasteful consumption pattern that some societies have developed towards the resource. Other factors such as climate change and projections for warmer and drier weather conditions particularly for countries in southern Africa are set to further compound the challenges of water security. Parallel to these challenges and from observing how society interacts with water and water resource management, it is quite evident that there is lack of coordination in the way that it has been managed by the different stakeholders.

    In my view, IWRM creates an environment that allows for efficiency and coordination and promotes a comprehensive participatory process in planning for and managing water and water resources across sectors. The approach also attempts to balance the dynamic social and economic needs while ensuring that ecosystems are protected, all for the benefit of current and future generations.

  1. What do you see as some of the greatest challenges being experienced in the IWRM sector?
  1. While the concept of IWRM is good on paper, there has been slow internalization and uptake of the concept by stakeholders at various levels. There is often lack of communication among the various stakeholders dealing with various aspects of water and these range from the catchment management agencies, Water and Sanitation Departments at various tiers of government. This challenge of lack of communication extends to other sectors too that use water e.g. agriculture, energy, human settlements including roads and transport works in how they deal with disposal of storm water. Lack of communication and coordination results in inefficient and wasteful practices for the water sector. The other challenge lies in the legacy of centralized water services in which public entities and private companies are subjected to a certain control from governments.

    As such, there is not so much a sense of ownership and accountability on the part of citizens and community members in as they do not actively participate in the management of water services.  Usually, citizens and community members become very conscious of their water use habit when extreme events occur such as droughts which often result in water rationing. Climate change which is manifesting in longer and more frequent drought periods and occurrence of flood events also add a layer of complexity in realizing IWRM.

  1. When it is all done and dusted, what would you like the impact of your research project to be?
  1. As cliché as it may sound, I would like results of my research to help engender transformation, through providing practical guidance on how water could be efficiently managed within sectors in the WEF nexus at a local scale. I intend to have a model that will in turn inform other tiers of the government of potential bottom-up pathways to foster better coordination and effective management of resources across the nexus.


The objective of the SGSP – IWRM is the development and deployment of an innovative and excellent regional collaborative education and research programme at PhD degree level complemented by selected tailor-made short courses for decision makers and industry, as well as a curriculum for a new regional PhD qualification in IWRM.