Statement on the Occasion of the World Day of Social Justice

Machona Village, Chipinge – Platform for Youth Development (PYD) has been in existence since 2008. The main thrust of their work has promoted and advanced community development and carried out efforts aimed at reducing poverty amongst the most disadvantaged in Chipinge District. The organization is of the opinion that justice is closely interlinked with human rights, hence the recognition of the World Day of Social Justice.

Today marks the observation of the World Day of Social Justice and it is relevant to the situation currently unfolding in Chipinge District. Social justice enables communities to identify structural disadvantages, discrimination and inequality that act as barriers to social inclusion and poverty eradication efforts. PYD will commemorate World Day of Social Justice in Machona village by involving four netball and four soccer teams from Machona (the host), Chisumbanje, Mukukuzi and Vheneka. Sport assist in defining community character and values, and offers individuals in the community a process and a route they can use to lead and facilitate collective visioning and action against poverty.

The World Day of Social Justice was set aside by the United Nations in 2009 to encourage people to look at how social justice affects poverty eradication and promote social integration. It is a day annually observed on 20 February.

PYD believes that the day provides an opportunity to look at pertinent issues of equity, fairness and justice in Chipinge District. Social integration and poverty eradication are fundamental in achieving social justice in the district. It is clear that the district is suffering from multiple and complex cause-effect relationships between economic and social constraints with their combined effects on life in the community.

PYD has been very prominent in fighting for social justice as evidenced by the work around the land dispute involving Greenfuel project, Land dispute involving Mahachi village and the Chipinge Rural District Council ,Contractual dispute involving Mutema Banana farmers with Matanuska Pvt Ltd,Gender disparity around harmful cultural practices in Chipinge district. In all these projects, PYD has been on the side of the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.

Girl child pledging and appeasement of the avenging spirits together with politicization of government food aid expose mostly young women to domestic violence in Chipinge District, a practice that has socially excluded vulnerable members of our community.

Community standing of a member that is rooted in the difference between gender, political affiliation, religious persuasion and even economic status is based on the long established and often accepted social, economic, cultural and political inequalities within our district. These glaring inequalities are not only the product of unequal power relations but they perpetuate the inequality in our district. Poverty and social exclusion is an expression of such unequal power.

PYD is cognizant of the fact that social justice in our local community is an attribute of institutions that are in the district. We call upon the DA’s office, the Chipinge Rural District council, the local traditional leadership, elected Members of Parliament and Councilors to seriously look into the way in which they promote opportunities for people to engage with the normal activities of their community. Social inclusion in the district and in Zimbabwe will go a long way in enhancing the participation of people in all forms of community development and in the process ensure gender equity.

We vociferously urge all stakeholders to reclaim our right to social justice and inclusion

Source: Platform for Youth Development (PYD)