Youths from Masvingo rural communities have embarked on a campaign against all forms of violence through various sporting activities. The sporting activities which are organized by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) Peace Clubs for Masvingo District bring youths from ward 16, 17, 18 and 34 and other surrounding wards of Masvingo Central Constituency together to play for peace.
The sporting activities, mainly soccer and netball, are played under COTRAD’s 2021 peace building theme – “Peaceful and Active Youth in Development”. The peace campaign aims to fight against political and domestic violence through raising people’s awareness about constitutional rights, forms of violence, ABCs of arrest, human rights violations and social service delivery concerns reporting processes and procedures. In commemoration of the sixteen days of activism against gender based violence from November 16, 2021 to December 11, 2021, COTRAD peace clubs organized the Masvingo District COTRAD 2021 Peace Tournament at Shonganiso grounds in ward 16. The tournament saw four teams in netball and four teams in soccer from various wards battling it out in a peace award-winning tournament.
Speaking during the tournament at Shonganiso grounds, Ward 16 councilor Mr. Dhemba who is also COTRAD peace committee member for Masvingo District expressed the importance of peace-building activities. “The sports for peace programs provide opportunities for young people to actively participate in social activities, interact with peers in a supervised setting, and form good relationships with public officials and elderly people in their communities. These inclusive community sport networks are an important source of social networking, helping to combat exclusion and fostering the community’s capacity to work collectively to realize opportunities and address challenges”, said Dhemba.
The sports for peace activities mainstream voter education, whereby the peace club members mobilize young people and women to go and register to vote in preparation for the forthcoming 2023 elections. COTRAD will continue to promote youth participation in peace building and community development processes through facilitating peace building activities, youth leadership training and providing engagement platforms where youths discuss their concerns and priorities with public officials.