Statement on the Welfare of the Youth and Operations of Civil Society organizations (CSOs) during National Lockdown

The National Association of Youth Organizations (NAYO Africa) is a Youth Umbrella Body for youth organizations working in Zimbabwe. Its vision is to see a repositioned, redefined and enhanced role of youth in community and national, regional and international developmental processes. Its work seeks to redress the challenges that youth are facing and contribute towards their active participation in developmental processes through Coordination, Advocacy, Mobilization, Capacity Building and Information Sharing Initiatives.

PERTURBED by the inaction/failure of the Government of Zimbabwe in establishing requisite social protection programmes that cater for the needs and welfare of the most vulnerable such as children, persons with disabilities, women and youth among other; the worsening economic situation which has heightened household poverty and the increasing arrests of youth political activists;

NOTING with concern the indefinite extension of the National Lockdown, the classification of most civil society organizations (CSOs) as ‘non-essential’ despite the essential roles that CSOs (Nairobi Outcome Document, 2016) play especially in this unprecedented time of fighting COVID-19 as independent development partners in poverty reduction, tackling inequality and progress towards Agenda 2030 and 2063 respectively and the lack of clear pathways on the resumption of normal economic activity within the country;

WE thus make an urgent call and plea on the Government of Zimbabwe and its relevant Ministries to consider undertaking the following as part of measures to ameliorate:

  • The Government of Zimbabwe to increase financial support ear marked for youth associations and enterprises under the Youth Relief Fund as the current packages of ZWL $5,000 and ZWL$3,000 are not sufficient to assist Youth in coming up with COVID 19 related interventions nor addressing issues related to their viability post COVID 19. The current efforts by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) to seek inputs from youth on the efficacy and accessibility of the Fund are thus commendable;
  • The Government of Zimbabwe as part of its measures of relaxing the National Lockdown to consider Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as part of essential services given the essential services they provide by way of complementing Government towards poverty reduction, addressing inequalities, ensuring access to services by all and as an interlocutor between the Government and citizens;
  • The Government of Zimbabwe to establish a Multi-Stakeholder Platform inclusive of civil society actors that compliments current efforts at responding to COVID-19 with a broader mandate which seeks to address among other aspects social welfare of citizens especially for the most vulnerable groups, access to services for key populations and ensuring progress in the realization of Agenda 2030 and 2063 all which remain key in the development trajectory of Zimbabwe; and
  • The Government of Zimbabwe in liaison with non-state actors including the informal sector, labor and civil society to engage in a consultative process with heads of sectors on the resumption of economic activity setting clear pathways which allow for sufficient preparations and inclusive participation of the various sectors contributing towards economic growth.

Source: National Association of Youth Organisations (NAYO)

For further media inquiries contact NAYO Secretariat: nayozim@gmail.com; Mobile: +263 734 832 025

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