Friday, 20 March 2015

Include us in your programmes! MWGCD urged

The young women of Bulawayo have called on the Ministry Of Women Affairs, Gender and Community development to have quota systems in the distribution of the Women’s Development Fund as well as in the selection of beneficiaries for their programmes as most young women have not benefitted from the Ministry’s programmes.

Speaking at a Young woman’s networking meeting convened by the National Youth Development Trust at ONDOSA training centre, the young women told representatives of the Ministry that they were not aware that the Ministry had programmes as well as a development fund that could benefit them, as such they have not been a part of them.

“There is need for the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development to scale up information dissemination because we have never heard about some of the programmes they undertake,” said Patience Mahlangu, a young woman from Pumula North. “Most young women can benefit from these as levels are of youth unemployment are at an alarming rate. The Ministry should conduct awareness campaigns particularly in the townships where the majority of young women are suffering the adverse effects of poverty,” she said

The Ministry’s representative, Rusere Rusere, agreed that the Ministry was reaching out to more older women than the younger women and encouraged the young women to visit the Ministry so that they can access information about the programmes and be acquainted with their respective ward co-ordinators. He told the young women that the Ministry had a number of programmes such as Legal literacy and Gender Based Violence Sensitisation workshops which young women could participate in.

“As the Ministry of women affairs, gender and community development we also have a women’s development fund which should help in economically empowering women,” said Rusere. “The fund is available for all those who fit in the criteria regardless of political affiliation. The only requirements are that women should be in groups of between three to six people and should have an ongoing project. Each group should have a constitution and a project proposal. Individuals from each group should bring certified copies of their identity documents, proof of residence as well as quotations for their inputs,” he said.

In the past, young women have not benefitted from the Women’s development fund, as they were often referred to the Ministry of Youth, Indegenisation and Economic Empowerment’s youth fund, leaving the older women to benefit more from the youth fund. However, the trend has been that most young women from the Matabeleland region have failed to benefit from the youth fund, which was suspended due to several administrative challenges, and have been left without any form of fund to assist them.

Rusere advised the young women to group themselves before approaching the Ministry for different capacity building trainings in their wards. He further advised that they should start any type of projects which would then enable them to be get a share of the Women’s Development Fund as the fund was being used to bankroll already existing projects.

Young Women’s networking meetings are platforms availed by the NYDT to interface young women with organizations that offer various services regarding situations directly affecting them so that they may gain knowledge on who to approach for assistance in the various situations they face.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Government to return school to the church

Amandlethu Secondary School at St Paul’s Mission, Lupane is set to be handed back to the Roman Catholic Church after government revealed that they are unable to run the school. 
Speaking at a Public Accountability meeting convened by the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT), the Ward 19 Councilor, Zett Ncube, told the youths that the government was failing to run the school which was previously owned by the Roman Catholic Church, and would be handing it back to the church.

“Amandlethu Secondary School used to be owned by the Roman Catholic Church but was taken over by government,” said Ncube. “Ever since government took over, the school has been facing challenges and there is little development taking place. The government is going to hand back the school to the church as it is struggling to run it,” he said.

Prior to 1980 the provision of education for the majority of black people was largely in the hands of church organizations. Church organizations made and continue to make immense contributions to the establishment, growth and development of education in Zimbabwe. They pioneered the provision of education for the African people. The different church organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church, Brethren in Christ and Presbyterian amongst others established schools at their respective mission stations and in their areas of influence. In these schools the learners received tuition in basic education, teacher education and industrial skills training. The shortage of schools in rural areas was a challenge for government who then did not have the resources to build. It heavily relied on donors, some of whom were church organizations thereby facilitating the transfer of schools such as Amandlethu Secondary School from the church to government.

The move by government has been welcomed by the youths and the community at large who believe the school under the church’s wings will develop, thereby improving the quality of education of young people in the ward. 

“We are pleased with the decision by government to transfer the school back to the Roman Catholic Church,” said Lydia Moyo a member of NYDT. “The government has failed to develop and maintain the school since it took over. Now we are hoping that in the hands of the Church, the school will grow and the students’ capacities will also improve,” she said.

Most church schools are holding the fort in rural areas with some of them making the top 100 schools in Zimbabwe in 2014. This has given hope to the youths in St Paul’s mission who believe that with the help of the church Amandlethu secondary school will someday be in the top 100 and will have the best possible infrastructure.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Youth domestic violence on the rise

The National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) held a peace circle with young women in Pumula North, Bulawayo where they spoke out about the rising levels of domestic violence and Gender Based Violence (GBV) in their community. They felt that the rise was most noticeable in youth relationships; a shift from the past where domestic violence was mostly associated with the older generation.
Jacqueline Ndlovu, the ward 9 youth councilor, highlighted that the rise of domestic violence amongst youths could be attributed to the socio-economic issues affecting them. She said that unemployment and poverty are the major destabilisers of youth relationships.

“The rise in domestic violence can be linked to the high unemployment levels as well as the extreme poverty faced by young people in Zimbabwe,” said Ndlovu. “When a couple is experiencing financial difficulties, they are faced with various pressures which put a strain on their relationship subsequently leading to conflict,” she said.

On a daily basis, reports on domestic violence flood the media. Statistics from the Zimbabwe National Statistics office show that between 2012 and the first quarter of 2014 approximately 11 000 women and girls were victims of either domestic violence, rape or other forms of abuse. However, this figure is said to be more as most cases go unreported.

Patience Mahlangu, a young woman from Pumula North, concurred with the above assertion. She told the meeting that it was difficult for victims in their community to report cases of domestic violence as such cases are viewed as minor needing little police intervention.

“Most people do not report cases of domestic violence because police treat these as minor issues which should be discussed by the affected parties in the privacy of their homes,” said Mahlangu. “Additionally, reporting your partner to the police may at times exacerbate the situation as the victim may be further victimized for taking the matter to the police,” she said.

Furthermore, the young women felt that police corruption is one of the major problems that lead to a high number of cases going unreported. They said that some police officers often accept bribes from perpetrators of violence who are set free despite the severity of their crimes.

“The police in Pumula spend most of their time at the shopping centre playing snooker instead of being at the police station where victims of crimes can go and report cases,” said one young woman (name withheld). “Victims of crime have to go to the shopping center to report cases which are sometimes too sensitive to discuss in public areas,” she said.

Laws and policies such as the Domestic Violence Act and Sexual Offences Act have been put in place to eradicate this societal decadence yet not much has been done in tackling gender-based violence. The young women argued that firm action from the police was needed in order for the laws to be effective. They also said there was need for communities to be educated on gender based violence and on the steps to follow when one is faced with a domestic violence case.

The young women were advised to visit the Victim friendly unit, a section of the police that is trained to deal with victims of GBV, when faced with domestic violence or any other forms of GBV.

Peace circles are platforms provided by the National Youth Development Trust for young women to freely express themselves and to associate with each other. It is hoped that through these platforms, the organization will be able to develop the capacities of young females before integrating them into platforms that will involve their interaction and engagement with their male counterparts.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Listen to us; Councillor told

Lupane youths castigated their councilor, Japhet  Mpofu, for turning a blind eye on youth issues despite giving their recommendations to council. This came to light at a public accountability meeting held by the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) in Masenyane.

Young people felt that it was pointless to convene meetings to discuss priorities for 2015 because the council has in the past failed to action the recommendations from young people.

“We are always called to meetings and asked for our views, but what is common is that young people are often not welcome at these meetings and most often than not older people’s contributions take precedence over ours,” said Delani Nyoni . “During the last consultative meeting we attended we requested that a youth center be built in the ward, but a dip tank was prioritized in place of that,” he said. 

Young people in most of NYDT’s project areas have cited cultural factors as the major obstacle to their participation in budget consultative meetings and other community platforms. The patriarchal nature of Zimbabwe’s society has contributed to young people being shut out from the public sphere as they are not allowed to speak in the presence of adults.

The councillor Mpofu told young people that their requests were a priority; however actioning these requests takes time as the Kusile Rural District Council (KRDC) is largely depended on donor funds to carry out development projects.

“Unlike in the cities we do not collect as much revenue, as such the KRDC has very little money to use to develop Lupane,” said Mpofu. “We therefore are undertaking projects one at a time. It does not mean one project is more important than the other.”

The councilor further told young people not to despair contributing in meetings as their needs would eventually be addressed despite the long time frame in between.

During the meeting, young people got a chance to identify key issues to be included in the 2015 KRDC budget. Amongst the issues, young people felt that there was need for the KRDC to set aside a fund for incoming generation projects for young people.Most young people in Lupane are unemployed and as such they feel that income generating projects will help them sustain a living. They lamented that the timber rich area has not created any jobs for them as such they need alternatives that will contribute to their livelihoods.

“Most of us young people are not employed, therefore we need a fund for income generating projects,” said Brighton Mgayo. “Some of us tried to chop and sell firewood so that we make a living, but our efforts soon came to naught as the Environment Management Agency (EMA) came with laws to be followed which are quite stiff for us young people who cannot afford to pay for licenses,” he said. 

The young women present at the meeting felt that the building of a clinic at Mthanyelwana should be prioritized because they cannot afford to travel long distances. They said there was need to have health facilities located within walking distance from community members. 

The councilor advised young people to form a committee which would be responsible for pushing youth issues to community leaders. He also pledged to take young people’s issues further.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Young people urged to unite

Young people in Zimbabwe have been urged to rise above political differences and work together in solving the country’s economic challenges, various speakers at a recent political parties’ forum said.
The meeting, held at Entumbane Hall on 14 March, was organised by the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) under the topic “Can ZIMASSETT bring transformation to Bulawayo industries and reduce youth unemployment?
Fortune Mlalazi of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it was encouraging that youth in Zimbabwe are now able to sit together and discuss policy issues. “We are now at a time where youth in Zimbabwe are now able to sit and discuss issues together which is commendable.
“I would like to urge young people to have a cross political agenda so that we can create a just and a fair society for ourselves,” he said.
The meeting was also attended by representatives from MDC-T, Zanu PF and ZAPU.  Hector Chikowore, the national youth spokesperson of ZAPU said, “We must do away with polarisation.  We shouldn't just differ with someone just because they are from a rival political organisation. If an idea is good, let’s support it if it’s not, let’s improve it.
“Together we can release the country from its (economic) shackles” Chikowore said.  
Kunashe Muchemwa of the MDC-T echoed the same sentiments, adding that youths should be adventurous and take initiatives. He added that if ZIMASSET does not work, then young people should work together and bring alternative solutions as a means of developing the nation.
The meeting was attended by 109 youths from Entumbane, Emakhandeni and Pumula.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

NYDT hosts political parties forum

The continued failure to implement devolution of power, as enshrined in Chapter 14 of Zimbabwe’s new constitution is unlawful. This is one of the messages that came out during a political parties forum that was organised by the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) at St Peter’s Hall in Pumula, last week.
The lively meeting was attended by 52 youths from and around Pumula areas in Bulawayo.
Godwin Phiri, director of the youth group, said, “As things stand, devolution of power is hanging. It is there in the new Constitution but it’s not there on the ground and yet it’s almost a year since we’ve had the new Constitution.
“It would have been good if the political parties that are in parliament were present here today to explain to us why we have this delay. What is happening is actually a violation of the Constitution.”
Celani Ncube, representing the Welshman Ncube led MDC, said the reason why devolution of power is not being realised is because of the way people voted and people should be prepared to live with their choices.  Ncube also stressed that the concept of devolution is for all Zimbabweans and not for the people of Matabeleland only.
“We never said the country should be divided, devolution of power means power to the people. It simply means that power should go down to the provinces, where people live.
“Devolution of power is not about Matabeleland only, even people in Marange should benefit from it and have a say in their diamonds.  Living from government hand-outs is not sustainable,” Ncube said.
Hector Chikowore of ZAPU said he believed that devolution can still be achieved and urged all the youth to rise above party politics because no one is less Zimbabwean because they belong to a different political party.
“Can devolution be achieved? Yes, because I believe in Zimbabweans. The chance is still there. We must galvanise ourselves as the youth and put pressure on our Members of Parliament.
“There is need for people to speak with one voice, different political parties and civil society should all work together for devolution to be implemented,” Chikowore added.
Representatives of Zanu PF and MDC-T were not present at the meeting, despite having been invited to the forum meeting.

Monday, 10 March 2014

NYDT Donates to Tsholotsho Flood Victims

The National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) recently donated food and clothing to victims of floods in Tsholotsho, Sipepa Village development. The donations were made in response to an outcry from villagers in Tsholotsho that little was being done to alleviate their plight.
The Director of NYDT, Mr. Liberty Bhebhe said, although the organisation is not a humanitarian one, it could not ignore the plight of the flood victims as a community the organisation works with.
“We were moved by the insignificant level of assistance that these people have been getting from Government that is why we decided to take action and, make our own contribution. So members of the NYDT have donated clothes and food, which we have since handed over to the villagers,” said Bhebhe.
He further called on young people to take up social responsibility by volunteering to assist some of the villagers, particularly the vulnerable.
“We have a lot of elderly people that are unable to rebuild their homes even after being given new land in which to rebuild. I therefore encourage all young people to take up the kind of leadership we always call upon as NYDT and help out these people,” he added.

The National Youth Development Trust The is a youth-focused civil society organization whose mission is to develop sustainable leadership qualities in young people for their effective contribution to education, the economy, politics, culture, health and agriculture to enhance the quality of their and the countries’ well being. It has been operating in Tsholotsho as part of its project areas since 2011.