Matabeleland South youth table their key asks to leaders

As a way of collecting and consolidating youth aspirations, the Community Youth Development Trust in collaboration with other networking organizations embarked on a consultation journey targeting youth across the province of Matabeleland South, documenting ‘Youth Key Asks’, which then contributed to the designing of a tool kit referred to as “Matabeleland South Youth Key Asks”. This tool kit has in turn been tabled to elected leaders in 7 districts so that they get opportunity to interface with issues affecting youths in the province and demand that they come up with solutions. The organization has also scheduled the 30th of August 2019 to be the day where youth’s representatives across the province shall meet up with the parliamentary portfolio committee in charge of the ministry of youth, sports and recreation to discuss these key asks with them so as to mobilize for political buy-in of national leaders. The main thrust of this process is to ensure that issues peculiar to the youths from this marginalized province are brought to the public domain so that they attract necessary attention from both local and national leaders.

The process of gathering the views was spread to the 7 districts of Matabeleland South, which saw Youth Brainstorming Key Demands Forums being held in Gwanda, Bulilima, Mangwe, Mzingwane, Matobo, Beitbridge and Insiza. These meetings attracted attendance of 898 youths of which 55.6 were young women.

However, despite the recorded young women attendance, their participation remained low during the deliberations, a move that can be associated with socialization and patriarchy.

It cannot go unmentioned that in all the districts; the level of youth engagement was high as they managed to proffer what they felt are issues impinging on their growth as leaders. Interestingly was what they put as key asks can be viewed as long term solutions to the challenges faced by young citizens. As much as CYDT provided youths with such a space, the organization got to learn a lot throughout the process. One of the issues we learnt was that once accorded platform; young people can be vessels of social inclusion and good governance where all citizens are treated equal.

Now that these Key Asks are out to the public domain, there is need for the leaders to develop political will and commitment and cause for implementation of programs that seek to address them so as to regain trust and confidence from the youths. The Key Demands that were gathered from the youth are summarized below:

Political Demands

  • Local and national leaders should desist from using young people as perpetrators of violence;
  • There is need for a conducive environment that empowers young people to assume leadership at governance and political party levels;
  • Government and political institutions should adopt a ZEBRA approach (50/50) in terms of appointments so as to empower young women to access the opportunities of assuming leadership positions;
  • Government should fully implement Devolution of power for young people to benefit from resources in their communities; and
  • The need for a non-partisan National Dialogue process that puts the interests of ordinary Zimbabwean first.

Economic Demands

  • Government should provide nonpartisan youth empowerment through creation of jobs;
  • Government should design women economic empowerment programmes that specifically target young women;
  • There is need for depoliticisation community aid that seek to improve the status of the communities;
  • Government departments, ministries and the public sector in general should exercise transparency and accountability all the time so as to reduce and eradicate corruption currently rampant;
  • There should be provision of adequate information through use of new media especially on economic opportunities including how young women can access resources from the Women Bank and the Empower Bank; and
  • Government should revise requirements in the form of collateral for one to access resources from the Empower bank.

Social Demands

  • Local authorities and community structures should provide opportunities for young people to assume leadership positions for them to utilize and maximize their skills and knowledge in contributing to the development of their communities;
  • Local authorities should develop and implement youth empowerment policies that promote youth participation in local governance;
  • Government through the ministry of health should prioritize women sexual reproductive health through provision of free sanitary ware especially for women in rural and remote areas;
  • Development at local levels should create conditions that empower young women to participate decision making processes and contribute to development plans that cater for their interests;
  • Government should adopt constitutionalism, unity and UBUNTU and the foundations of national Dialogue so as to promote collective engagement for youth inclusive development; and
  • Government should enforce social cooperate responsibility especially in the mining sector so that communities benefit from their own resources explored by the mining companies.

It is the hope of the young people that government, political parties and the nation as a whole take these key asks with the urgency and importance they deserve so that the youth can in turn be part of nation building because as it is they are not part of any nation building.

Source: Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT)