Displacement and Livelihoods through the Construction of Small Dams: Legacies of Magunje Dam in Hurungwe District, Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe


  • Joshua Chakawa
  • Tawanda Valentine Chambwe Midlands State University




displacement and resettlement, compensation, impact studies, ecology, livelihoods


This article examines the experiences of people in rural areas who are displaced by the construction of small dams. Scholarship on dam construction has generally focused on the impact of big dams on communities. Yet, this study argues, small dam construction projects also impact those living on the site and vicinity of small dams. Using Magunje Dam in Hurungwe District of Zimbabwe as a lens, the study traces the experiences of the changed livelihoods of communities that resisted being moved and those who were relocated to other places. By taking this approach, the study establishes the complex impact of the Magunje Dam project on the evicted people and argues that those who are affected by small dam projects sometimes suffer unwanted consequences and their challenges are difficult to remedy because they occupy the fringes of society. Their challenges go unnoticed, especially after receiving paltry compensation. The study shows that displacement and involuntary resettlement destabilise the family fabric. Through the lenses of the Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction model (IRR), the effects of dam construction on rural people are unpacked. Data was obtained through qualitative research methodologies.

Author Biography

Joshua Chakawa

History Department

Chairperson and senior lecturer


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How to Cite

Chakawa, Joshua, and Tawanda Valentine Chambwe. 2022. “Displacement and Livelihoods through the Construction of Small Dams: Legacies of Magunje Dam in Hurungwe District, Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe”. Africanus: Journal of Development Studies, 16 pages . https://doi.org/10.25159/2663-6522/8298.



Received 2020-08-18
Accepted 2022-03-30
Published 2022-08-17