International Youth Day: Young people advocates for implementation of the African Youth Charter

12 August 2011

Representing young people, Mr. Pazvakavamba, the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) Chairman, highlighted some provisions in the charter which require urgent government action. These include the right of every young person to quality education; the right to gainful employment; the right to health including access to youth friendly reproductive health services; elimination of all forms of discrimination against girls and young women; and guaranteed participation of youth in parliament and other decision making bodies. He also advocated for a 25% budget allocation for youth development.

The UN Secretary General in his statement, which was read by Ms. Christine Umutoni, the UNDP Country Director called for the international community to work together to expand the horizons of opportunity for young women and men and answer their legitimate demands of dignity, development and decent work. "Failing to invest into our youth is a false economy. Investments in young people will pay great dividends in a better future for all," he said.

Some of the key challenges young people in Zimbabwe face today include poverty, unemployment as well as high levels of teenage pregnancies and STIs including HIV. The ZYC Executive Director, Mr. Dzikira commended the support ZYC is receiving from UNFPA towards the adolescents, sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) programme through capacity building of youth serving organisations. To date, about 100 organisations have been trained in ASRH. He also applauded support from UNDP towards youth empowerment projects that have had an impact on young people in the country.

The day also marked the end of the International Year of Youth (12 August 2010 to 12 August 2011) under the theme, "Dialogue and Mutual understanding". The Minister of Youth Development, Indigenization and Empowerment, Mr. Saviour Kasukuwere called upon all youths to desist from violence and to promote dialogue and respect for each other. This echoed sentiments by Ms. Umutoni when she postulated that the development and peace of this country depends on how young people behave. Young people themselves also advocated for peace and development through poetry and music. Mr. Dzikira called upon young people to be inspired to change their world for the better all the time and for stakeholders to harness the energy of young people to help build a better tomorrow.

More pictures on the event