Under the theme, "Young People, forging the future in a world of seven billion: challenges and opportunities", the competition is aimed at informing, educating and raising students awareness on population issues."This is a way of engaging young people and bringing out their voices on what they view as the opportunities and challenges they face in Zimbabwe today", said Reverend Paul Damasane, the Principal Director within the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture during the launch. He also underscored that art and poetry shows the convictions or beliefs of the author for no one can draw or write what they do not believe in. Hence the competition will give an insight and open our eyes to young people's views. "We envision that this might cascade in enriching programmes or interventions that focus on young people", said Ms. Tamisayi Chinhengo, the UNFPA Adolescents Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme Officer.
Reverend Damasane called upon students to participate in the competition. He also urged teachers and students to take this as an opportunity not only to do the artwork or write poems, but to also learn more about the global population dynamics.
The focus of the competition is in line with the 2011 World Population Day theme, "Seven billion people, counting on each other". According to the United Nations Population Division, the world population is projected to reach the seven billion mark on the 31st of October 2011. This global milestone presents both opportunities and challenges which include poverty, inequality, urbanization, climate change and aging populations.
The Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture is facilitating participation of all primary and secondary schools in the country. The target group for the art competition is primary school children and the target for the poem competition is secondary school students. There will be a first, second and third prizes to individuals both at provincial and national level. Winning schools will also be given prizes at national level. The prize giving ceremony is scheduled for the end of October.