Bulawayo Declaration for Youth Development

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We, the members of the Bulawayo Junior City Council and the Children’s Parliament in Bulawayo, after attending the International Youth Day Bulawayo Youth Forum held on the 22nd of August 2012 at the Small City Hall under the theme: “Building a better world, partnering with youth”;

 

Commit ourselves to this Youth Declaration for the Development of Young People in Bulawayo;

Recognizing the Millennium Development Goals on:

1.       Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Hunger,
2.       Achieving Universal Primary Education,
6.       Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases,
8.       Developing a global partnership for development;

 

Aware that the bulk of young people out of school are unemployed, and the majority of those employed are engaged in low-paying sales, service and unskilled jobs;

Concerned that young people are engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with 48% of girls having begun child-bearing by age 19 and 5.9% of young people aged 15 to 24 years living with HIV in Bulawayo[i];

Further concerned that young people are unable to further their education at secondary and tertiary level due to lack of financial support;

Acknowledging the underlying factors influencing these trends in that:

  • Traditional sexuality education platforms are no longer functioning, forcing young people to seek advice from ill-informed peers and culturally irrelevant media sources,
  • Bulawayo City Council-run recreational facilities for young people are largely defunct and unattractive, causing young people to refer to recreational centres prone to irresponsible behaviour including drug abuse, violence and risky sexual activity,
  • Young people lack the skills, opportunities and information to break the cycle of poverty in their families and communities;

Believing that meaningful youth participation is the key for sustainable development and that anything for us without us is against us;

Knowing that young people have the energy, intellect and collective power to drive development policies, strategies and actions in Bulawayo;

Faced with this situation, we the members of the Bulawayo Junior City Council and the Children’s Parliament in Bulawayo commit ourselves to:

  • Become role models for fellow young people by protecting ourselves from HIV, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and drug and alcohol abuse,
  • Share information with young people on HIV prevention, avoiding drug abuse and improving self-realization in combating poverty,
  • Convene additional discussion forums with government, youth-serving organizations, the corporate sector and young people on pertinent development issues of interest including but not limited to climate change, education, health and poverty eradication as they pertain to young people in Bulawayo,
  • Read and understand existing strategies and legal frameworks guiding work on sexual reproductive health, poverty eradication and governance in relation to young people, including the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy,
  • Advocate for youth development in Bulawayo in close cooperation with the Bulawayo City Council and Parliament of Zimbabwe structures,
  • Disseminate this Youth Declaration for the Development of Young People in Bulawayo as widely as possible to youth and adult partners, in the city and the country as a whole,
  • Partner with different organizations and government structures in the delivery of interventions and campaigns aimed at eradicating poverty, enhancing education and addressing sexual reproductive health of young people;

 

While recognizing our responsibility to enforce this declaration by all actors intervening for the development of young people in Bulawayo, we, the representatives of the Bulawayo Junior City Council and the Children’s Parliament in Bulawayo call upon:

 

Media houses to

  • Afford adequate attention to youth development issues in their publications and broadcasts;

Government to

  • Recapitalize industries in Bulawayo to allow for increased employment of young people and to enable increased financial resources for investment in recreational facilities for young people,
  • Support and increase allocation of meaningful spaces for young people to influence development dialogues and decisions influencing youth development in Bulawayo;

Youth serving organizations to

  • Convene workshops for youth leaders and young people on sexual reproductive health and rights;

 

Companies in the corporate sector to

  •  Avail resources for the refurbishment and maintenance of recreational facilities for young people,
  • Create gainful employment opportunities for young people,
  • Provide scholarships and financial support for young people who are unable to further their education due to financial difficulties,
  • Provide financial support to the Bulawayo Junior Council and the Children’s Parliament in Bulawayo for them to effectively carry out duties in ensuring the development of young people in Bulawayo;

 

Young people to

¾    Safeguard their sexual reproductive health by getting tested for HIV, asking for guidance from health workers and upholding abstinence until they get married,

¾  Utilize existent recreational facilities provided by the Bulawayo City Council in areas where these are present,

¾  Prioritize their education, focus on their goals, be determined to succeed, be confident of their purpose, desire to see and influence change in their environment and maintain a positive attitude in the face of challenges;

 

We make this declaration in full hope that all stakeholders will work to ensure its fulfilment and in appreciation of the leadership role we as young people will need to perform in holding them to account.

 

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 22 August 2012


[i] Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey 2010/11

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The Junior Citizen

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Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton; these are great people who have dedicated their lives to helping others and to making the world a better place. This may sound cliché I know, especially since I have never met these people and I may never meet them, but I have met a leader that is still finding his footing in the world but has already started changing the lives of many, Bonlat Machiha.

Bonlat is an 18 year old A-level student from Founders High School who served as the Child Governor for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province (2011-2012).  This young man has defied the hurdles of age and proven to us that the slightest dent makes the biggest transformation and while most youth think that they have to dream big or create a massive social innovation to make a difference, he went the simple route. On the 20th of…

View original post 348 more words

An 18 Year Old Change-Maker

20121220_112254

Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton; these are great people who have dedicated their lives to helping others and to making the world a better place. This may sound cliché I know, especially since I have never met these people and I may never meet them, but I have met a leader that is still finding his footing in the world but has already started changing the lives of many, Bonlat Machiha.

Bonlat is an 18 year old A-level student from Founders High School who served as the Child Governor for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province (2011-2012).  This young man has defied the hurdles of age and proven to us that the slightest dent makes the biggest transformation and while most youth think that they have to dream big or create a massive social innovation to make a difference, he went the simple route. On the 20th of December this year, he officially opened a piggery project at Thuthuka Children’s Home as a sustainable source of funding for them. He also donated a sizeable amount of groceries to the home as an early Christmas gift to the children, most of whom have been rehabilitated from living in the streets.

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From age 17, he started fundraising for the project and managed to secure support from different schools that volunteered to hold a civvies day and channel the funds to his cause. With this initiative he has empowered the children and given them something that they will be able to sustain for a very long time; giving life to the saying “Don’t give a man a fish, teach him how to fish”. The smiles of the children were priceless, as they jumped around and laughed with excitement, whilst the delegates and young people present expressed sentiments of inspiration, pride and solidarity.

In an interview hosted by ‘The Junior Citizen’ with Bonlat after the event, we asked him what his motivation was, and what words of inspiration he wanted to share with other young people. Regarding his motivation, he said “I was really inspired with the passion I had for making change for children that were living in the streets”, and as a word of encouragement to young people, he said, “age is not a barrier, you can do it. It only takes your passion, it only takes your concentration and also… seeking assistance and support from the other relevant people that have the same goal, to achieve a goal; and with that you will never go wrong”.

As much as people may say that this was a drop in the ocean, it is that drop that makes it an ocean! I would like to thank Bonlat for having fewer rhetorical questions and arguments and letting his actions speak for him. We should all take notes and instead of looking to make other nations lands of honey and milk we should all start at home and make our back yards our gold-mines!!!!!!!

 

By Cynthia Victor

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