Economic Justice for Women Project (EJWP) joins Zimbabwe in commemorating the National Youth Day, a day meant to celebrate the efforts made by young people in building the country. The theme for this year is “Alleviate substance and drug abuse by the youth”.
The Youth in Zimbabwe constitutes 67.7% of its 13 million total populations with the majority being young women. The contemporary status of young women in Zimbabwe reflects the increased socio-economic inequality gap. The minimal focus on corruption and partisan abuse of power in public resource distribution and use has impacted the provision of adequate social service delivery which reflects on the socio-economic status of the young people. Consequently, we are reminded of the dire impact of COVID-19 on young women’s vain efforts towards economic independence. This has led to a rise in unemployment levels and rapid transition in the informal sector. The informal sector is characterized by high levels of violence, abuse and its returns fail to carter for young people basic needs, resulting in higher levels of stress, desperation and anxiety. This has resulted in increased levels of alcohol, drug and substance abuse as coping mechanisms. Researches carried out indicate that the prevalence of drug abuse is at 57% among young people in Zimbabwe. Young women are more vulnerable as reflected in increases in Gender Based Violence, rape, teenage pregnancies, suicides and other mental health disturbances.
To this end, EJWP calls upon the government through the following ministries to consider respective recommendations:
- Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development- To cement advocacy efforts by the women’s movement to enhance socio-economic security for young women.
- Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation- to amplify and implement calls for social and economic support from young people in Zimbabwe, particularly vulnerable groups. The ministry should push to strengthen young women participation in all development processes to ensure they are inclusive, democratic and counter issues on the ground.
- Ministry of Health and Child Care- Need to strengthen psycho-social support by establishing friendly institutions/environments and support networks at community level
- Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage-To strengthen investigative and punitive measures to ensure an end to drug paddling across Zimbabwe, ensuring justice for all survivors.
- Ministry of Finance and Economic Development-To adequately finance respective ministry with a mandate give socio-economic support to young women and ending drug trafficking.
- Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education – To facilitate young women access to education and capacitate them on drug abuse and its consequences.
- Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises- To increase economic opportunities for young people, facilitate their growth and independence, reducing their vulnerabilities to desperation and anxiety that can trigger the abuse of drugs and substances.
- Civil Society Organizations-To strategically collaborate amongst ourselves, relevant ministries, parliamentarians and the broader citizenry to curb drug abuse amongst young people, particularly young women.
Happy National Youth Day!!!