On the 6th of September 2019, Africa University was granted the honour of partnering with the City of Mutare and the Government of Zimbabwe in leading a city wide clean –up of the city of Mutare with a focus on the Mutare Provincial Hospital speaking to the correlation between health and a clean environment. The event ran under the theme, “Zero tolerance to litter. My environment, my pride.” Also joining the effort were various stakeholders from business, government and civic organizations. Among them were CIMAS, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife, Zimbabwe Prison Services, Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Environmental Management Agency and Premier Service Medical Investment (PSMI).
The event saw all the participating organizations dispersed to various cleaning zones around the city and the Mutare Provincial Hospital where litter was collected, grounds levelled and overgrown areas slashed. Trees were also planted in an effort to “green” and beautify the city and the hospital. At the official opening ceremony of the event, VC Prof. Furusa communicated Africa University’s commitment to creating environmental awareness while emphasising the role that humans play in the deterioration of the environment and the need to actively halt its destruction.
“Today and every day we should challenge ourselves to focus on environmental protection and care. Conserving our environment is the most noble way we can safeguard our future. We cherish the opportunity to partner with the Government of Zimbabwe and the entire community to remake and restructure our environment.”
He went on to highlight that the university hosts clean- up efforts on a monthly basis with the practise becoming a culture and tradition at the institution among its staff and students that it intends to extend and replicate in the surrounding community.
Minister of State for Manicaland Honourable Dr. Ellen Gwaradzimba applauded the university as a bastion of the values that other higher education institutions and organizations should embody lauding its eagerness to spearhead worthy causes and inspire the community.
“I am very happy that this campaign is being led by Africa University and indeed it is being led in style! The branded dust coats that they have provided for us as we have cleaned, their facilitating the presence of the Africa University Choir to grace this occasion and the many students who have chosen to serve. You have done Manicaland proud!”
“We are here for a cause, to make our city beautiful and clean. That so many of you are here is indicative of the shared vision that we have and our collective aspirations. Once again thank you Africa University for leading us. You are our premier institution in this region of Zimbabwe and we want to thank you for leading by example and teaching our young leaders of the need to participate in the community and give back. I know that in this endeavour we shall not fail with you at the fore front.”
Mrs. T. Magwari, a member of staff representing Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife said of the initiative,
“Cleaning and greening our environment is a national duty. Now this is something that my workmates, community members and even people in my own family look forward to each month as a critical responsibility we must all take part in.”
Africa University Student Representative Council President Mr. Shadeen Travers speaking on behalf of the AU student body said,
“We all want and need a clean environment for all. If our leaders do not take that first step, then who will? This is a social responsibility that we all share and we are humbled and honoured that our university has been given the privilege to lead from the front.”
AU’s environmental activism extends far beyond monthly clean- up campaigns to encompass the implementation of a 100-day environmental action plan that brings together stakeholders from across the university’s diverse student groups, administration and faculty to chart programmes and initiatives that can be carried out within each 100-day cycle that deliver on impact, research and community involvement.