Activista Zimbabwe hosted its provincial conferences across the country at the end of 2018. The Activista Harare Chapter set the tone by hosting its provincial conference in the capital on 08 December 2018 at Batanai Gardens to brainstorm on the social justice programmes the Provincial Branch is set to roll out in 2019. The event was accompanied by the Provincial Conference theme dubbed “Youth Solidarity Power: Amplifying Youth Voices on Gender Sensitivity and Gender Responsive Public Services”.
The Activista movement is part of ActionAid International (AAI)’s Global Youth Network (GYN) and social movement involving more than 50 ActionAid partners and volunteers that are bringing forth visible change and transformation through contributing to poverty eradication, social justice and gender equality. The movement’s presence in Zimbabwe was marked by the launch of Activista Zimbabwe in 2016. Activista Zimbabwe has Provincial representation in the 10 Provinces across the nation including the metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo to provide unique possibilities and opportunities for Zimbabwean youth to engage in the fight against social injustices such as poverty, unemployment, corruption and gender inequality.
The Harare Provincial conference proved beyond doubt that it was an interface platform for young people to meet, brainstorm collectively, come up and adopt an advocacy strategy for 2019. At the same time the youth wanted to develop a narrative that is going to shape their ideological discourse for their 2019 work plan based on amplifying youth voices in Gender Sensitivity and Gender Responsive Public Services.
Speaking to the press, on the sidelines of the conference, Sheryl Chigwedere the Activista Harare Provincial Coordinator highlighted the power and potential of youth solidarity advocacy in addressing young people’s challenges. She said the movement is closely working with other youth associate organizations such as Youth in Accountability and Governance (Y.A.G) Youth for Peace and Development (Y4PD) and Youths for Youths by Youths (YYY) among others. She vehemently called young people in Harare to build a strong chapter movement and become the heartbeat of the broad Activista Zimbabwe national movement articulating social, economic, political and cultural challenges.
As the Activista Harare Provincial Chapter we championed a number of developmental and advocacy programmes in 2018 which need some evaluation, taking stock of our hits and misses also calling for an in-depth analysis of our strengths and weaknesses. Our introspection is aimed at coming up with an advocacy strategy for our 2019 work-plan that we are going to marry with a clear ideology to develop narratives to help drive our agenda to that effect. Young people are therefore being challenged to be proactive in pushing their issues and boisterously conceded that indeed they constitute a demographic dividend that is critical to the development of the country. Youth are being implored to harness and leverage the limitless potential occasioned by the advancements in digital technologies for them to find space, voices and collaborate in the search for cutting edge practical ways to address issues affecting them. The Activista Zimbabwe movement is dedicated to giving voice to young men and women who are the most productive assets of any nation to recognize their rights and full potential to enhance their capabilities for self-development and make youth empowerment a priority area for interventions.
The conference witnessed all the represented youth led organizations giving solidarity speeches. The event was pregnant with youth led activities that included the 2018 Activista Harare Reflections and activity reports presentation, network building, panel discussions and breakout sessions to collectively brainstorm on developing the narratives that are going to be used to shape their 2019 work plan ideological discourses in amplifying youth voices in Gender Sensitivity and Gender Responsive Public Services. There was also time on the schedule for poems, songs and dance commemorating the 16 Days of activism against Gender Based Violence. The overarching Activista Harare conference objective was to improve the overall campaigning for social change through increased solidarity and efforts that secure national ownership and global direction in close partnership with the national Activista Zimbabwe movement and ActionAid Zimbabwe.
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc were used to share the hashtag #YouthSolidarityPower and solidarity messages coming from the provincial conference through sharing pictures, audios and short videos to ensure maximum exposure.