By Brighton Ncube- My Bulawayo news Reporter
The #leavenoyouthbehind2018 campaign has been officially launched with many stakeholders in around the country participating. The campaign has seen many youth organisations being part of this initiative, amongst the stakeholders taking part in the #leavenoyouthbehind2018 include NANGO, Non -State Actors Alliance (NSAA) ZimRights, ERC, Crisis Coalition, Young Voters, ZRGT, GIZ,EU, American Friends , Oxfam and among others.
This campaign was launched in Harare , at Jameson Hotel on the 29th of November 2016. Acccording to history social and political change in many countries is defined by the youth. In the case of Zimbabwe 67% of the population comprises of the youth but only the 47% of these youths are on the voting registration. Many stakeholders around the country have began educating the youth on the need to cast their vote and make a difference in the country.
According to the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) it revealed that in the 2013 harmonised elections only 8,87% of the youth were on the voter’s roll. These statistics further reveal that on the youth translates to nearly 2million people who did not vote. The #leavenoyouthbehind2018 campaign will cover young people in rural and peri urban areas mainly focusing on the need for the youth to participate in the electoral process as it is their right. The campaign will cover all 10 provinces in Zimbabwe.
According to their strategy the campaign mainly targets three key groups of youth, the first time voters those born between 1995 and 2000, the youth Apathy -those of the voting age but not registered and also the Youth Candidates -those registering as candidates for elections.
Speaking to Thando Gwinji , Youth for Innovation Trust managing Director as well one of the co-ordinators in Bulawayo she expressed how happy she was concerning the ground work the #leavenoyouthbehind2018 has put in place “from Bulawayo side we are going to be engaging the youth leaders to reach out to every young person with the sole purpose of achieving the four pillars of the campaign GoMobilise, GoEducate,GoRegister, GoVote, we have already begun mobilising young people to be aware of the changes in the voting system” she said
The #leavenoyouthbehind2018 comes at a time when many people in the remote areas of Zimbabwe have raised their voices regarding the lack of information from the public media, such as the public broadcasters were information does not reach to them in time. In some parts of the country public radio and television signals cannot reach the communities, such areas include Plumtree, and Beitbridge and this campaign has been welcomed with warm hands by the public.
Again the mainstream media has been bias in terms of rural reporting and leaving the rural commuinties lagging behind in terms of access to information, No communiity radio stations have been licenced in the country to date hence no medium of communication in these remote rural communities of Zimbabwe.
Responding to My Bulawayo Whatsapp messages the NAYO director highlighted that the campaign is based on the four pillars and they saw the need to educate the public on voting.”GoVote,GoMobilise, GoEducate,GoRegister, pilar three looks at education which includes the biometric voting registration system, we have set structures in all provinces of Zimbabwe to carry voter education for example our provincial co-ordinating office for Matebeleland North had an outreach in Hwange and we use different methods in communities that suit each community and respecting community values” he said
Speaking on the #leavenoyouthbehind2018 to the Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) represenative “CYDT will ride on its community existence to ensuretaht rural youths are educated on the specifics of the biometric system. the organisation will soon conduct capacity building workshop that will unpack biometric voting to the community Youth Advocates.”
He further went on to speak on the use of modern technology to educate the communities.” the organisation will maximise on the existing technology almost the majority of young people have a cellphone hence making it easy to pass information”