As a young man working for ActionAid Zimbabwe, an organization driven to alleviate poverty and injustice for a better Zimbabwe where every person regardless of race and gender enjoys their right to a life of dignity, participating at the 2017 National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) Expo was an exciting experience for me.
As someone working in the finance department, I am usually not used to going out of the office due to the nature of my job. When I heard of the NANGO expo, I was motivated to go to experience what it is all about. ActionAid Zimbabwe provides a holistic approach to development where even some of us with finance backgrounds participate in programme activities. I was one of the team members who volunteered to represent ActionAid Zimbabwe at the NANGO Expo held at the Harare Gardens from 5-7 October 2017. It was quite inspiring being at the fore-front explaining and telling people who we are and what we do as ActionAid Zimbabwe. It enhanced my own understanding of the work we do.
The Expo helped me to understand more about our strategic objectives and values. In our current country strategy plan for 2014- 2018 we have three main strategic objectives as follows:
Strategic objective 1: Promote improved livelihoods and enhanced rights to land and natural resources for at least 40,000 rural smallholder producers (25,000 being women and 15,000 being men) and their households. Under this strategic objective we focus on helping people in our communities to adapt to climatic deviations and become resilient to these changes such that one day they can be independent there by improving their standard of living with regards to food and nutrition.
Strategic objective 2: Support people living in poverty being 153,000 adult women, young women, men and children to engage the government and corporates for improved gender responsive public service delivery. Within this strategy, ActionAid helps the communities to engage the responsible authorities e.g. central government, local authorities and corporates to account for improvements in the quality and equity and gender responsiveness of the public services.
Strategic Objective 3: Ensure that 300,000 women and girls can break the cycle of violence and claim control over their bodies. Promotion of the rights of women is all this strategy seeks to bring out. Its quest is to break the cycle of gender based violence (GBV) and ensure safety for women in public places, discourage and end early child marriages and securing access to comprehensive care and quality support including sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The Theme for the NANGO Expo for 2017 was Harnessing Demographic dividend: Increasing Investment in Youth Initiatives and Promoting Youth Participation and Engagement in Development. In line with this theme, I am happy to see that ActionAid Zimbabwe has made strategic investments in the promotion of youth-led programmes for its 2018-2028 Strategic Plan as we seek to actively involve the youth in national development.
I must say therefore that being a youth and having the exposure to talk to the outside world whom we are trying to reach out to was a wonderful experience. It was great working in the actual field other than being behind a desk and it is something I would want to do more in the quest to investing my efforts in the alleviation of poverty in Zimbabwe and beyond the borders.