BY LORRAINE MUROMO
YOUTHS have been urged to be active in transforming civic space in Zimbabwe post-COVID-19 era.
This was said last week in Harare by the Canadian High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Christina Buchan during a regional youth summit organised by the Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) to map youth’s involvement in civic matters.
She said the youth were the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, hence the need to ensure that their creativity and innovation were not ruined in the process.
“With school closures and lockdowns, the normal energy and creativity of youths has been curtailed. Young people have shared their experiences on enforced lockdowns and state of emergencies and how it has affected their participation in political, social and economic life,” Buchan said.
“I hope that conversations like these can reenergise those connections and bring forth the vitality of young people’s ideas for a post-COVID-19 recovery plan on issues such as civic processes, economic empowerment, educational and developmental opportunities.”
“The creativity and innovation of young people should be incorporated into the national and regional responses to the COVID-19 recovery. I hope to see young men and women demonstrating competencies in constructively engaging with policy and decision makers on effective ways to increase youth participation in civic and democratic processes.”
Buchan also urged the government to increase its efforts in research-based scientific evidence for a successful uptake of policy recommendations.
“Governments on the African continent must be able to rely on well informed policies, which are based on scientific evidence produced through rigorous analysis.”
Buchan applauded partnerships between youth platforms such as YETT and regional initiatives such as the International Development Research Centre, saying these promoted a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions across the region.
Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) acting director Brian Nyagwande promised youths that the council would work tirelessly to ensure that their voices are heard.
“The ZYC is working tirelessly to ensure that the National Youth Bill does not end as a Bill. It should be enacted into law” Nyagwande said.