It has been almost two months since we commemorated the day of the African Child.
This month we joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Youth Day.
August 12 has been marked as International Youth Day under the 2011 theme, “Change our world” as the theme not only expresses the level of impact young people strive to achieve, but also reflects the notion of a global community that is a core principle of the United Nations.
In Zimbabwe, we would like to see this as the interaction between youths from different regions, political parties, schools, neighbourhoods and communities, for the betterment of the nation.
In December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
The day is meant to bring young people from all walks of life together, and as such Zimbabwe this year participated in this endeavor, uniting young people from different parts of the country.
The Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment, and Zimbabwe Youth Council with the support of partners hosted an event at Macheke Stadium in Masvingo to commemorate the day.
This event brought youths from different cultures, youth stakeholders and government officials together, to commence the dialogue amongst the youth.
Primarily, as a day of commemoration, it has also opened debate among the youth and youth stakeholders in the country.
This year’s International Youth Day commemorations gave young Zimbabweans an opportunity to make impressionable contributions with regards to the African Youth Charter, helping with the fostering of communication between young people and youth policy makers.
Today young people are seen participating in different roles in society. In developing countries, child-headed homes are evident — orphans left to fend for themselves. Young people have learnt to find innovative ways to make money, survive and make the most of each situation presented to them.
On the other side, unfortunately, some young people have resorted to participating in violence and/ or crime to makes ends meet — cases that would probably be best understood individually.
Certainly, these are generalised statements and cannot be used to evaluate what every young person is doing, but this provides a starting ground in understanding young people and how to progress forward.
Other young people have made significant contributions in their schools through leadership, community engagement, sport, music and cultural societies.
Young people have become educators to their peers, lending out information on health, acting as tutors, and guardians to those younger.
In a message from Ban Ki-moon the UN Secretary-General he said, “The international community must continue to work together to expand the horizons of opportunity for these young women and men and answer their legitimate demands for dignity,
development and decent work.
Failing to invest in our youth leads to a false economy. Investment in young people will pay great dividends in a better future for all.”
Commemorating an international day like this reminds us that as a nation, in order to move forward progressively, we need to promote a level of peace, development and equality in distribution of assistance and opportunities for the youth.
From here, our youth can change Zimbabwe, change the world.
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