Youth for Sustainable Peace : Roping Young Minds into Nation Building and Decision Making.
Progress so far:
Stakeholders roped in the youth initiatives:
- Youth Empower Bank
- Ministry of Youth
- Zimbabwe Youth Council
- Youth Against COVID
- Ministry of Health and Child Care ( Tsholotsho)
- Rural District Council Tsholotsho
- The police ( Tsholotsho)
- Ministry of Education Tsholotsho
Outcomes of the youth activities:
1. Positive changes in attitudes and behaviors – a culture of tolerance and respect
Sipho’s Story (* name changed for protection of the individual’s privacy)
‘My name is Zinhle. I live in Gwanda in the Matabeleland South region of Zimbabwe. I used to hate Shona people because of the stories that I heard when I was growing up. I never witnessed the Gukurahundi genocide which killed thousands of my people, but I was told of the atrocities. These stories made me very bitter, I developed hate for Shona people.
After high school I proceeded to go to Midlands State University in Midlands where I found myself learning and residing with Shona speaking students . I was very hostile to them, I hated them, called them derogatory names, and distanced myself from them I saw nothing good in them. However because of this workshop I believe that I have a different and more positive attitude toward Shona people I wish I had leant all this before I went to Gweru , I would have certainly treated Shona people better.’.
2. Improved Relations
Lucky’s Story (* name changed for protection of the individual’s privacy)
‘My name is Lucky. I almost killed myself. I was born and raised in Harare. I come from a polygamous family. Both my parents died when I was incredibly young, and I found myself living with my uncle who is my late father’s young brother and my paternal grandmother who became my ‘caregivers’. My uncle always addressed me as’ Mwana wehure’, meaning . ‘Child of a Prostitute’. I was mistreated and unloved, this hurt me a lot and it made me feel very useless. Nobody loved or cared for me. I felt and still feel very lonely. After the death of my parents, two of my closest sibling died . This hurt me. Everyone around me seems to have a support system but me. I have always questioned if the place I have always known as home is really my home, I wonder if the person I have always known as my father is my father . Why don’t my relatives love me? I live less than 5 km from my aunt, but we have not spoken for over 10 years. I have no peace within myself and I have no peace with others. This online workshop has been of very helpful. it has given me a safe place to share my burdens I am now determined to go and make peace with my aunt who I have not spoken with for 10 years.’
3. Creation of spaces and opportunities for youths to meet with service providers who can assist them to grow economically : Positive unintended outcome.
ECLF through its Youth Desk created a platform for youths to interact with service providers such as the Empower Bank , a bank that offers loans for those interested in starting and running small business. Through this platform young people were able to get information on the steps they need to take to grow economically .
“Gender workshop helped me to self- introspect. ECLF should continue their good work.
To me COVID-19 did very well . I could spend more time with my husband and children, something that was no longer there due to his job demands.
As a couple the one thing I learnt about ourselves and each other and each other during the sessions is the use of I-Message. I used it in my home and spoke to my husband about the need to have our own garden during the lockdown. I wanted fresh vegetables and was now afraid of buying from the market due to COVID-19. My husband is a Bishop but he took it very well and began to work in the garden and I do work also although I am physically challenged due to diabetes. I turned blind but my grandchildren helped me to water the garden and feel the vegetables around. I brought my sample of fresh vegetables I have harvested”.
This picture below shows one of the participants displaying fresh vegetables grown during lockdown: