By NQOBANI NDLOVU
AN independent youth advocacy group has launched a programme aimed at promoting youth empowerment and involvement in local governance issues in Matabeleland South province.
The programme, developed by Gwanda-based Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT), is expected to have youths from Gwanda, Bulilima and Mangwe districts taking part in governance issues, where they are presently side-lined.
Under the programme titled Strengthening Youth Engagement in local governance to further grassroots developments, youths from the three districts will undergo training in local governance issues.
“The thrust of it (programme) is to promote youth engagement in local affairs so that they are able to influence service delivery that is responsive to their needs. This is done so as to motivate them to demand accountability where necessary,” CYDT co-ordinator Sichasisile Ndlovu said in an interview.
“More so, the project helps youths to realise power in changing the narrative of service provision in Gwanda, Mangwe and Bulilima. We hope to see more youths assuming leadership from the local to district level, so that they get to influence decisions that have to do with service provision.”
With the United Nations’ Sustainable Development goals valuing the role of young people, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 has also noted that women and youth are key for development to be inclusive, sustainable and achievable.
In Zimbabwe, young people have been touted to have the potential to transform the nation and spearhead development.
Despite youth empowerment promises from government, the participation of young people in the economy and governance of resources and public services is still limited. The small numbers of youthful councillors and legislators in the country’s Parliament is a clear indicator of how short Zimbabwe has fallen in that regard.
“We have managed to train young people on social accountability tools such as community service delivery scorecards. Notably, there is a change of attitude by many traditional and local leaders because they are now embracing youths as custodians of community development, which is a plus for the project,” Ndlovu said.
“CYDT has managed to take the project from the offices and given the youth autonomy by creating community structures that regulate day-to-day planning of activities at community level. As such, they own the process; they have come to realise the power they have and the capacity they possess in changing their misery,” Ndlovu said.