There is need for leadership from young people because there is too much followership. Let us make a positive impact in our lives, communities and the nation.Youths are the leaders of today. Let us not underestimate the values of honesty and integrity. Hon Jessie Majome (MP)
Every year the world celebrates International Youth Day (IYD) on the 12th of August. This year’s commemorations have been celebrated under the theme “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production.”
The 2030 agenda is rooted in the successful implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by every country. Sustainable Consumption and production (SDG 12) is therefore crucial for youths in ending poverty at individual, family, community and national level. In Zimbabwe, the IYD 2016 celebrations were held at Youth Empowerment Transformation Trust (YETT) where various youths and youth organisations were in attendance to deliberate on how best to address issues affecting them from taking a leadership role in ending poverty. Most of what was discussed could be accessed on twitter under the hash tag #LetUsLead @YetTrust.
taken for peacechild.org
Dr Charlton Tsodzo, who was one of the facilitators, highlighted that SDGs give youths a platform to engage youths to lead in addressing poverty issues.
“The SDGs give us an opportunity to be able to deliberate on how we can work towards ending poverty, on how we can ensure that young people take their rightful place to lead in sustainable development,” Tsodzo told those in attendance.
The IYD 2016 theme comes at a time when Zimbabwean youths are seriously affected by economic turmoil, unemployment and social unrest among other issues. With unemployment at 94%, most youths are either vending or staying at home. As a result a significant number of youths are disgruntled and living in poverty and this is forcing some of them to engage in anti-social activities like drug abuse, gambling and prostitution as pass times or ways to earn income. Zimbabwe is also ranked number 5 among the most corrupt countries in Africa and this means resources that are supposed to enable youths to fight poverty are misappropriated. As a result, Zimbabwe is full of mediocre youths who are at the mercy of politicians in furthering violence. It is under this background that we are surrounded by youths who are entrenched in poverty yet they are supposed to lead in sustainable development.
In order to make SDGs work for young people key issues were raised. It was discussed that it is mandatory that every country finances its own implementation of SDGs. This requirement makes it hard for Zimbabwe to achieve the road to 2030 because of the narrow tax base since 94% of the population are not formally employed. In discussion led by Judith Kaulem, The Executive Director of Poverty Reduction Forum Trust said currently most Zimbabweans are informally trading and they do not pay tax.
“Financing the SGDs would require that we widen our tax base and increase employment in the formal sector. Right now the informal sector constitutes a great number of people but they evade tax since the government has no control over them,” she said.
She also emphasized that the country has sixty mineral resources that could be exported in order to attract revenue but lack of clear government systems makes it difficult.
“We could tap into the mineral resources in order to have returns that serve the populace of the country but corruption and misappropriation continue because of no systems to maintain checks and balances of trade,” added Kaulem.
In order for Zimbabwe to implement the SDGs, there needs to be fair trading policies, tightening of regulatory systems that help to curb tax evasion and to have collaborations at global level to monitor and curtail illicit financial flows.
Kaulem also stressed that some elements of SDGs do not need money to be implemented for example the issues of human dignity, human rights, ensuring gender equality and democracy. They only need the political will and change of mind-set as they are catalysts for opening up resources.
Furthermore, if Zimbabwe is to effectively achieve the 2030 target, differently abled youths should be actively involved in the implementation process. It is sad to note that youths living with disabilities are discriminated in public spaces and as such they fail to positively contribute towards fighting poverty. They are excluded in the statistics and programming at national level thus worsening their situation.
According to Barbra Nyangairi, The Executive Director of Deaf Zimbabwe Trust, not thinking about youths living with disabilities makes them uniquely vulnerable.
“They are considered an afterthought because in our work we do not think about them. They are denied dignity, individuality and the right to life because people do not think about them,” said Nyangairi.
Young people with disabilities are marginalised beginning in their families. In most cases, they are denied the right to a decent education because they are considered unfit. Nyangairi highlighted that a vicious cycle of poverty is created when disabled youths are denied the right to education and this gets entrenched in society.
“Approximately 90% of children living with disabilities are not attending school and this proves that poverty is created from childhood. This will affect future generations because these children will not be having the requisite qualifications to be enrolled in vocational training or to become formally employed,” added Nyangairi.
She also highlighted that without statistics and information about who the young people with disabilities are and where they are, we are not able to provide initiatives that include them as we are implementing the SDGs.
Youth Responsive Budgeting from a youth informed perspective: Speaker Youth Development and Policy Specialist: Tinashe Gumbo
Youth Responsive budgeting is a tool used to integrate youth participation in the national budgeting process. It ensures accountability as youths will be monitoring all stages of the fiscal policy whether the inputs, outputs and outcomes of the budgeting process are addressing their needs.
The constant budget deficits are not youth friendly because aspirations are not being catered for. Youths should be actively participating in the manning of public resources in order for their issues to be addressed at all levels of governance. They need to constructively participate in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the fiscal policy.
- There is lack of effective monitoring and evaluation of youth project programmes
- Lack of sustainable youth entrepreneurship programmes
- Abuse of youths by politicians as they are the centre of social unrest
- There is limited youth participation in the fiscal policy
- Lack of promotion of peace and national healing
- Under supported social sectors such as education and health among others
- Lack of skills development for graduates
- Lack of youth mainstreaming in all ministries
- We need youth friendly policies
- To cultivate the necessary attitude in enabling youths to become agents of change
- Ensuring that their needs , concerns, issues and problems are addressed
- Empowering youths in the management of resources
- Youth Responsive Budgeting
BUDGETING WITH THE YOUNG WOMEN IN MIND: INSTITUTE OF YOUTH WOMEN DEVELOPMENT: Tariro Senderayi
The current budgeting process is failing to address the concerns of young women. It lacks social development goals targeting women and children because they are the ones who are mostly in need. The budget should address gender sensitive issues.
- It should allocate a certain amount of money targeting women in agriculture especially those in the marginalised areas so that they can be more productive and can take care of their families.
- Should finance women in the mining sector in order for them to be more productive
- It should finance women to participate in the tourism sector by tabulating an incentive policy such as duty-free imports for tourist purposes
- Needs to revisit by laws so that they are responsive to the needs of informal traders who are mainly women because they need access to financing which does not need stringent collateral requirements
- There should be an establishment of affordable market stalls and creation of an enabling environment because the current situation is exacerbating the plight of women vendors
- There is need for decent housing for women
- The Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) should benefit the underprivileged women first before anyone else
- It should invest infrastructure for Women living with disabilities
- Should be sensitive to gender based violence issues by providing funding to sensitize law enforcement agents to assist women involved in gender based violence
- Should allocate funds for counselling of gender based violence victims
- Should also empower young women through educational loans so that they can they further their education.
- It should allocate money towards the health sector in order to address issues of maternal mortality in the country.
Furthermore, young people need to be educated about positively contributing towards addressing issues of climate change. Most of them are not aware of what climate change is and they need to be educated on how best they can employ resources in order to combat climate change. In order for the Road to 2030 to become a reality, Zimbabwe needs to seriously address the concerns affecting young people by combating corruption and creating an enabling environment for youths to lead in all aspects of development.