FIFTEEN Miss Earth pageant finalists have begun environmental projects which will be factored into the final scoring of the judging process of the pageant to be held on August 30 in Bulawayo.
The pageant, running under the theme “Beauties Nurturing Nature” will see the winner of the Miss Earth Zimbabwe title represent the country at the world finals of Miss Earth which will be held in Manilla, the Philippines.
The application process was opened online in April and over 100 entries were received.
Interviews were held in Harare at Café Espresso in Avondale while in Bulawayo they were hosted at the Miss Earth offices.
The 15 finalists were expected to come up with environmental projects in the community they live in and work on that project until the time of the pageant.
In an interview with Southern Eye Lifestyle, Thandekile Muringa, former Miss Zimbabwe US and Miss Earth Zimbabwe who runs the event, said the projects must include water conservation, reforestation, saving endangered wildlife, growing sustainable agricultural practice, encouraging the need and benefits of Green energy and efforts that fall within the diverse range of climate change.
“Miss Earth Zimbabwe is a scholarship programme for young women in Zimbabwe focused on the development of leadership where environmental programmes are concerned. We are creating a platform for young women to dedicate their efforts towards sustainable development, curbing the negative effects of climate change and nurturing a clean environment for the future,” she said.
“We are committed to the preservation and resuscitation of our environment. Green is what we’ve come to expect from nature and green is what symbolises natural beauty. For us at Miss Earth Zimbabwe, the ultimate goal is to engage in a range of refreshing green initiatives. We are working effortlessly to address issues of veld fires, tree cutting for firewood and deforestation caused by tobacco farming. Collectively this has adversely affected our indigenous forests and we aim to rectify this anomaly.
“It is our goal to campaign for sustainable energy generation to help reduce adverse deforestation, to pursue efforts towards green business practice and most of all to increase public awareness and advocacy on matters affecting Earth’s fragile environment.”
Some of the finalists have been spotted making presentations on environmental management at schools, cleaning the central business districts, soliciting for donation of bins, planting trees, sharing knowledge on the importance of trees, setting up environmental clubs in schools and recycling old T-shirts into bags.
Current Miss Earth Zimbabwe Samantha Dika’s green goal is expected to plant 10 000 trees in 10 provinces across Zimbabwe before December 31 2014.
“My plan and hope is to distribute and plant at least 10 000 fruit trees in communities, children’s homes as well as social and welfare centers throughout Zimbabwe. Fruit trees are well known to sustain livelihoods through income generation from sale of fruits and nutrition improvement. Further more fruit trees can be planted throughout the year. Through this programme, marginalised communities will be greened and lives of the marginalised will be improved sustainably,” said Dika.
She received a Women’s Philanthropic Award from the Zimbabwe Philanthropy Institution for her outstanding achievements in green awareness activities early in the year.