Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Young people have a role to play in the development of Zimbabwe

TOP del.icio.us

According to the International Center for Research on Young Women the world’s youth population currently stands at 1.1 billion and 85 percent of these young people live in poor countries.  As the youth population continues to grow not much is being done to integrate young minds into the development of their countries.

Socially entrenched attitudes have relegated youths to mere spectators of development in their respective countries and recently young people have resorted to engaging in protests to seek redress from governments. The only time young people’s contribution to society is valued is when politicians look for support during elections. Many young people have been used as foot soldiers in unleashing violence in the communities they live in. Young people’s voices continue to be suppressed as they lack representation in decision making at the highest level. The appointment of a new cabinet in Zimbabwe is a good example of how the young generation continues to be sidelined in decision-making.

Year in and year out Zimbabwe continues to churn out graduates from various colleges but most of these young minds end up on the streets or cross borders to do menial jobs in neighboring countries. Some people may blame our education curriculum for not doing much in helping young people who are not gifted academically but talented in other fields. A high literacy rate with the backdrop of high unemployment figures calls for debate as to whether these young people and educated men and women are lacking technical skills for them start something of their own?

The recent Food For Thought debate session hosted by US Embassy Public Affairs section brought together young panelists from various backgrounds to share experiences and the way forward in creating opportunity for young people in Zimbabwe. A presentation by Chiedza Gadzirai of the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe highlighted that sport has contributed a lot of social and economical benefits to a lot of young people in Zimbabwe.

Masimba Kuchera of the Center for Disability and Development gave an example of how government in Kenya managed to create opportunity for youth through the formation of an i-Hub where young people meet to share opportunities and ideas in the information technology sector. As a young person born with visual impairment Masimba lamented government’s failure to give adequate support to people living with disabilities. The low priority status given to programmes targeted at disabled people has resulted in many failing to participate fully in the development of the nation. Glanis Changachirere founder of the Institute for Young Women’s Development reiterated the fact that the playing field can only be level when young people are accorded an opportunity to represent themselves in decision making at top level.

Comments are closed.