Capacitating and empowering young people to engage local authorities
By Ezekiel Zekiya Mudimu
In the African Youth Charter, Article 26 states that every young person has responsibilities towards their family, society at large, the state, and the international community. Youth shall have the duty to:
(26d) Partake fully in citizenship duties including voting, decision making and governance;
(26e) Engage in peer to peer education to promote youth development in areas such as literacy, use of information communication technology, HIV and AIDS prevention, violence prevention and peace building;
(26g) Espouse an honest work ethic and reject and expose corruption;
The Zimbabwean government ratified the African Youth Charter, yet the youth are still finding it increasingly difficult to freely assemble, associate and express themselves in the face of restrictive laws such as Public Order and Security Act, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and Miscellaneous Offenses Act. The Public Order and Security Act requires that every gathering or public meeting be cleared by the police.
Simuka Africa Youth Association values youth participation in governance and anti-corruption activities hence the organization embarked on a number of programs and activities meant to stimulate youth participation. One such an activity is a training workshop on using ICT and the social media to engage local authority. The purpose of the workshop was to capacitate and empower youth activists with tools that will help them to effectively engage local leaders and influence decision making process. The training workshop was hosted by the World Bank Zimbabwe Office, which also provided workshop facilitators, including its IT specialist. The following topics were covered during the course of the workshop:
The facilitators used practical demonstrations on the use of social media. Many participants were assisted to open Facebook and twitter accounts. The youth expressed sincere gratitude for the opportunity to learn on how to effectively communicate using social media. They resolved to engage more youth and local councils in rejecting and exposing corruption using social media because it is user-friendly and accessible to many people even via the mobile phone. The World Bank pledged to continue supporting the youth with access to internet as well as hosting youth dialogues on topical issues that affect youth development. The trained youth are now visible and making constructive contributions via social media. Youth Dialogue Zimbabwe Project which used to be done through face to face community dialogues is now taking a new shape as youth are now able to participate online.
The ICT training workshop in pictures
A youth making a contribution during the ICT training workshop
Young people listening to a presentation during the workshop
*Pictures courtesy of Ms. Margret Matewa World Bank Zimbabwe Country Office