Greener Journal of Social Sciences

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Greener Journal of  Social Sciences Vol. 3 (10), pp. 496-503, December 2013

  ISSN: 2276-7800 © 2011 GJSS

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 102913938


Peri- Urban Livelihoods Strategies and Survival. River Sand Extraction in Mucheke River And Livelihoods Security in Masvingo Urban, Zimbabwe


Mutangi Gumisai Tinotenda


Lecturer, Sociology Department, Great Zimbabwe University.


Email: gtmutangi @


The aim of the paper was to asses the contribution of river sand extraction to the livelihoods of the urban dwellers as well as the challenges which the extractors face in the activity. The paper was mainly grounded in qualitative methodology using such data gathering instruments as unstructured interviews, Focus Group Discussions and transect walks. The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach was used as a conceptual framework to understand the livelihoods of the urban poor. The paper reviewed that there are a lot of factors that have forced the urban poor to rely on river sand extraction as a livelihood strategy among these are low uptake of labor by the formal employment sector, dollarization of the economy and negative impacts of international policies. The extractors reviewed that they have resorted to the environment or natural resource use as the only form of the natural capital which they have and this has helped them to meet the day to day needs of urban life such as rent, electricity, water bills, payment of school fees and to buy food at household level. The paper reviewed that although the urban dwellers have used the activity to meet their basic needs, the business has its own challenges as those alluded to by the extractors. The issue of accessibility and gaining entry into the farm as well as constraints by the highway police were cited as the major constraints to the activity. However it was interesting to note that the extractors have not only sat down and relax but rather have devised different ways for them to meet their needs and among these strategies are the issue of social networks with the police as well as the school authority at Gokomere High School. Conclusions were drawn that the local authorities must find ways to integrate the activity into the mainstream development process because it is proving to be of paramount importance to the development process.

Keywords: Livelihoods, informal economy, urbanization, dollarization, shocks, vulnerability, poverty, environment.

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