By Nkosana Dlamini
Newly-formed NGO, 4-H Zimbabwe has come up with a structured programme that seeks to unite Zimbabwean youths through sporting activities and some sustainable agro-based initiatives.
Zimbabwean youths are often caught up in acts of violence usually at the behest of older politicians or while under the influence sometimes with dire consequences to both victims and perpetrators.
The initiative, according to the organisation’s national director John Muchenje, has received thumbs up from the the country’s main political parties which are Zanu PF, CCC and MDC-T.
Among the various programmes that have been set in motion as part of the youth engagement exercise are sporting activities and trainings on sustainable agriculture.
Youths who qualify for the initiative start from those as young as 6 years of age going up to 36.
Speaking at a Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF) organised interface with news gatekeepers and senior journalists in Harare Friday, 4-H Zimbabwe board vice chairperson Collins Chizhanje distanced the NGO from any political party links.
“We are not aligned to any party, we are not controlled by any party but what we are doing is to push for a peaceful nation which is food secure.
“There is nowhere you can have agriculture that is growing with youths that are disjointed…it does not pay to see our youths that are in constant fighting in the streets. That energy should be used to produce crops and livestock.”
Chizhanje said the Hs in the so-christened 4-H Zimbabwe NGO represented the Head, Heart, Hand and Health.
Also speaking at the same event, Muchenje said the Swiss embassy funded youth based organisation also seeks to come up with the Zimbabwe Youth Charter on electoral processes which will serve as a code of conduct to guide the behaviour of young people during the country’s often divisive electoral period.
The organisation has designated and conducted trainings with some 75 peace ambassadors drawn from Zanu PF, CCC and MDC-T.
“Young people fight because one belongs to a certain political party and yet what binds us together is bigger than what separates us,” Muchenje said, adding that his organisation shall roll out its sporting activities to all the country’s 10 provinces.
“We want to see a Zimbabwe where young people collectively work together towards improving our economy as a nation.”
Apart from sports, 4-H Zimbabwe has also embarked on sustainable agriculture aimed at enhancing climate resilience which is targeting rural young women in Bulilima (Matabeleland South), Seke, Chirumhanzu, Mvurwi and Bulawayo.
Under the Japanese embassy funded initiative, the organisation will train young women in areas to do with crop production and with further support from other funding partners, the project will be extended to teaching the young women on issues to do with gender-based violence, child rights, democracy and voter education.