Zimbabwe’s youth should be the leading voice for change


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Globally, UN Security Council Resolution 2250 urges governments to increase youth inclusion in decision making.

The UN has also reaffirmed the youth’s role in peacekeeping and the UN Peacebuilding Fund’s Youth Promotion Initiative is another effort aimed at focusing on youth integration.

Organisations like the UN Development Programme (UNDP) already work with the Zimbabwean government on youth empowerment.

Success stories include the support offered to the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development.

This has resulted in many young people sustaining better livelihoods through agriculture, and contributes towards skills development and self-employment.

Yet such strides are overshadowed by the growing number of unemployed graduates from Zimbabwean tertiary institutions; a clear illustration that more needs to be done.

On the continental front, the AU recently developed its Youth Volunteer Corps to provide work experience to young people across Africa.

The AU’s African Governance Architecture platform also engages youth to build good governance.

These activities point in the right direction but their effectiveness remains to be seen; and making these initiatives work in Zimbabwe will be a challenge.

The task will likely fall on civil society.

Non-governmental actors – local and international – will need to advocate for better youth civic engagement by implementing programmes (in school and out of school) that focus on home-grown solutions.

Programmes should address the lack of skills and encourage social-entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, because this is young people’s key grievance.

By developing their capacity, the youth would be less likely to turn to violence out of frustration.

Forty-one years on, South Africa’s youth have illustrated that they are still able to influence change through protests.

Zimbabwe’s young people should be the leading voice for change in their country – and this can be achieved not only through political processes, but also through their economic empowerment.

By Lauren Tracey and Muneinazvo Kujeke. This article was first published by ISS Today

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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