Association mining

Profile of the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)

Who we are?

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has established itself as one of the leading natural resource governance organizations in Zimbabwe and the Southern African region. ZELA’s work has evolved around the promotion of environmental rights to a broader natural resource governance agenda that includes natural resources, including land, water, wildlife, gas and mineral resources. The organization’s ability to conduct legally, policy and practice relevant research has firmly established ZELA as a critical voice, convener and broker of knowledge on natural resource governance. An important niche for the organization has been the fact that it works to promote the governance of natural resources through a legal approach. ZELA currently works at the local community level, with local authorities, civil society and national government. ZELA’s work is primarily anchored on a core group of rights that reflect the governance of natural resources, namely environmental, economic, social and cultural (CESE) rights. Thus, much of our work involves influencing implementation and reforms in the legal and institutional frameworks governing the environment and natural resources sector, primarily through research, civic education and advocacy. As an organization, we believe that putting in place adequate laws and monitoring their implementation are the first steps towards good governance of the environment and natural resources. The organization has two decades of experience in contributing significantly to the legal, policy and institutional frameworks governing the environment and natural resource sectors for large-scale sustainable environmental and socio-economic development in Zimbabwe and beyond through to the work carried out at the national, regional and regional levels. internationally.


To be a leading public interest environmental law and justice organization that protects the environment and empowers marginalized citizens and communities in Southern Africa


Promoting equitable, just and sustainable management and protection of the environment and natural resources of marginalized communities and citizens in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa

Our approaches/strategies


We build and maintain effective diverse partnerships at local, national, regional and international levels with donors, civil society organizations, advocacy groups, community organizations, government departments, the private sector, etc.). Through our partnerships, we build capacity and skills; campaigning and creating collaborative synergies Building grassroots movements for environmental justice

To research

The continuous generation of knowledge products from analytical, investigative and exploratory research, among others, helps us gather empirical research evidence to influence environmental decisions, laws and policies.

Impact litigation

We approach the courts to seek justice and redress for communities in resource-rich areas at local, national and regional levels. Our goal is to use lawsuits to create powerful precedents in environmental protection

Documentation and knowledge management

Using technology and instituting knowledge management, we will drive innovative digital tools and knowledge products to guide stakeholders (including ZELA staff, CSOs, CBOs, community monitors, youth groups women) in collecting and documenting information on key aspects of natural resource governance such as in the form of blogs, articles, tweets, docuseries, video infographics, etc.

Evidence-based technical support for policy and legislative reforms

As an environmental law organization, the law is the foundation of our work.

Our work with communities

From the beginning, ZELA has always wanted people to understand and apply the law by actively asserting and enforcing their environmental, economic, social and cultural rights through education and public awareness campaigns. With great effort and use of resources, we have seen local communities use litigation, community monitoring, petition writing, advocacy and negotiation to claim and enforce their rights. We have helped register and establish strong community groups in resource rich areas such as Marange, Mbire, Grande Dyke, Chiredzi, Chipinge, Buhera, Chimanimani, Gwanda, Matobo, Mutoko, Hwange among others. Through our capacity-building programs, several active community groups are challenging environmental injustice, human rights abuses, corruption, and lack of transparency and accountability in the natural resources sector. ZELA has offices in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, but uses a community empowerment model by identifying community-based organizations to anchor the work of the organization. Where such community groups do not exist, ZELA assists mining communities by organizing them and providing registration support as common law trusts to enable them to operate legally. In some cases, ZELA has provided legal and financial support to community groups to start income-generating projects.

It should be emphasized that the lack of transparency and accountability in the generation and use of mining revenues has affected the country’s ability to attract investors and has also affected the potential benefits of mining for host communities. mines and the nation as a whole. Informed, resource-rich communities are essential to promoting open, inclusive and accountable governance of the mining and environmental sector. While community-based activities are primarily implemented in targeted districts, the policy advocacy work done with communities benefits all citizens of Zimbabwe, from responsible business and investment, to mining , land and natural resources, governance of local service delivery, climate change and energy.

Our work with Parliament

Over the years, ZELA has succeeded in connecting communities with elected leaders such as parliamentarians through outreach programs. Parliamentary oversight, public access to information, and effective monitoring of in-country investment agreements regarding natural resource governance are more fundamental than ever to promoting good governance and enhancing accountability in the mining sector. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to invest public revenues in health service delivery and environmental protection and only when citizens themselves push for that the executive be accountable for the use of revenue and make the right decisions. that this can be achieved. The mining sector in particular and in some regions is riddled with human rights violations, socio-economic inequalities and injustices manifested by forced relocations, inadequate or non-existent compensation, pollution of water and air, environmental degradation and violations of cultural rights.

Over the years, ZELA has facilitated several visits, tours and public hearings for the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Mineral Development and other relevant committees. To cement our relationship with Parliament which began in 2002, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Parliament in 2014 and this Memorandum of Understanding was renewed in 2019. ZELA’s Memorandum of Understanding with Parliament enables organization to improve parliamentarians’ ability to provide oversight while strengthening parliament’s legislative role. To a large extent, ZELA’s work with parliament has strengthened the legislative, representational and oversight role of parliamentarians.

ZELA contact details

26B Seke Road, Hatfield,Harare-Zimbabwe
Twitter: @ZELA_Infor
Facebook: Environmental Law Association of Zimbabwe
Youtube: Environmental Law Association of Zimbabwe
Instagram: zela_infor
Tel: +263 242 573 601-3
Free number: +263 777 195 006

Source: ZELA