YOUTHNAD launches Youth Mining Syndicates in Silobela.

Youth Network Alternative Development (Youth NAD) has launched Youth Mining Syndicates to promote young people to benefit from local available resources and be key drivers of economic growth within their community through artisanal and tribute mining. The project borrows from the concept of tribute mining where young people engage an established mining firm and get time to mine and cede a percentage to the mining owners and retain a percentage. The project is christened “Alternative communication for policy advocacy: Locating youth rights and opportunities in local and national programs and processes”

The project is piloted in two wards 27 and 28 in Silobela district. The thrust of the project is to rejuvenate and strengthen existing youth groups by equipping them with information on how to explore mining opportunities provided by the availability of gold and other natural resources in their community. The project has acquainted youths with knowledge for sustainable utilization of natural resources when venturing into artisanal mining. It has given them information and techniques to protect the environment when carrying out mining activities. The organization has also setup Youth led Environmental Protection Advocacy Teams (YEPAT) to lobby, sensitize, and educate the community in general on sustainable gold mining. The youths are working hand in hand with the local leadership such as headmen, local chiefs who are very supportive of the project although some chiefs have not been fully supporting the initiative. The organization is continuously engaging them to find ways of cooperation.

Young artisanal mining have shared spin chilling experiences on how they have been treating each other in the mines in some instances murder cases have been reported, collapsing of poorly constructed mining shafts, abuse of girls, alcohol and substance abuse,  prostitution etc. Youths are calling for assistance from well wishers to donate tools and materials for use in their artisanal and tribute mining activities.

Overtime time Youth-NAD) has been implementing the Building Local Democracy project that seeks to empower young people to claim their rights to participate in local governance and benefit in different initiatives done towards community development in Silobela, Nkayi, Chiredzi and Zaka. The programming is influenced by its belief that young people in many rural districts in Zimbabwe do not directly benefit from local available resources due to their vulnerability, lack of access to correct and relevant information and their marginalization.  Traditional decision-making structures are exclusive as they are biased towards the old hence have not been accommodative for young people.  Youth-NAD believes that unless youths have access to information, their ability to hold public actors to account, participate in policy processes, economic activities and their capacity for local organizing is incessantly hindered.


Cowdry Park residents reject Prepaid water meters

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Cowdry Park residents from Hlalani Kuhle and their counterparts from greater Cowdry Park last week overwhelmingly rejected prepaid water meters and challenged council to engage them to find a lasting solution to the perennial water problem. Over 150 residents on Saturday afternoon converged in a meeting called by the local councillor and the Bulawayo City Council to share with residents the proposed Bulawayo Public Transport policy, discuss bills and payments and prepaid water meters and vehemently rejected the proposal by council to install prepaid water meters. Residents argued that water is a right as enshrined in section 77 in the constitution of Zimbabwe and thus it cannot be prepaid and it has no substitute like electricity. They said that the move will affect social relations, strip many their dignity and they lamented that the cost of purchasing the meters and installation will be a burden to them as they are already struggling to put roofs over their heads. They demanded that city council installs water just like other locations and they also pledge to provide labour if council has no capacity to hire casuals to dig trenches for sewer and water distribution.

A council official Mr Misheck Mpofu, pressed to clarify the council position on prepaid water meters, he revealed that council has no capacity to roll out the prepaid water meters, casting aspersions on residents and also questions on who is pushing for this project and for what benefit. Residents challenged the city council to engage stakeholders and do the right thing at once than these trial and errors to the already disadvantaged community.  The council move comes on the heels of a massive demonstration two weeks ago  by Civil Society Organizations against  Prepaid water meters that saw over 2000 residents taking to the streets to reject prepaid water meter proposal by the Bulawayo City Council.

The local councillor also contradicted with the statement issued out by the Bulawayo City council that the prepaid water meters will be rolled out to the rest of the city, but he said that the prepaid water meters are a pilot project for Cowdry Park only, this also raised an ire from the residents who argued that what if the pilot fails that means the city council will have to start another project again. The council proposed to install prepaid water meters as an effort to force residents to pay their bills. In the same statement the council public relations department said that prepaid water meters will help people to budget. Questions such as what will people budget when the majority in Bulawayo are not employed due to closure of industries and those that are vending are surviving on hand to mouth.

YOUTHNAD Readies for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence 2014 Campaign

YOUTH NAD will this year organize a massive one week campaign on gender based violence to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence commemorations in the form of outreach activities in Nkayi and Chiredzi districts. This year’s theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Lets Challenge Militarism and End Gender Based Violence” Commemorations will bring together hundreds of people made up of various stakeholders, i.e. in school youths, out of school youths, local leaders and the community at large to interact and share strategies that can used to fight gender based violence. The campaign aims to influence change of mindset and for people to speak out against harmful cultural practices and beliefs that disadvantage the girl child in rural communities while at the same time fomenting child sexual abuse and gender based violence.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is a global campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates November 25- International Day Against Violence Against Women- and December 10- International Human Rights Day- in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. It rightfully stresses that gender-based violence is an international human rights violation.
Around the globe, in the lead up to, and during, the 16 days of activism, participants will highlight the systemic nature of gender-based violence and militarism which encourages inequality and discrimination and prioritizes weapons spending over funding for quality education and healthcare and safe public spaces. The culture of militarism builds on and protects systems of power by controlling dissent and using violence to settle economic, political and social disputes. Militarism draws on and perpetuates patriarchal models of political, economic, and social domination of people by a small number of elites and privileges violent masculinity as acceptable behavior. The 16 Days Campaign focus on the intersections of gender-based violence and militarism is an effort to work toward a more equitable and peaceful world.

At a glance statistics proved that Nkayi has a record of high prevalence for abuse even by close relatives and family members and hence the plight of a woman and girl child cannot be over emphasized. Padare/Enkundleni/Men’s Forum on Gender collaborating with Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) (2010) reported that it learnt of the existence of serious gender based violence cases, i.e. 39 cases of domestic violence were reported, with 38 cases involving men as perpetrators and only one case that involve a woman as perpetrator. Child abuse cases were also reported. Chiredzi district has recorded an increase in cases of Gender Based violence, Musasa project (2014) reported that cases have doubled from 1500 in 2012 to 3500 cases by March 2014. Economic and conjugal rights issues being the major contributors. In addition the Department of Social Welfare (2011) reported that Nkayi district has alarming levels of sexual abuse, child abuse and children not going to school when they complete their Grade 7 and the majority of these are the girl child. This is glaring and empirical evidence that that levels of Gender based violence are high in these two communities.
The outcomes of the campaign are expected to be empowered women who are able to report cases of Gender Based Violence in the communities, safety nets created in communities for victims of Gender Based Violence. Early warning mechanisms established to detect cases of Gender based violence and reported and prosecution of perpetrators of Gender Based Violence taking place. YOUTH NAD invites stakeholders to join in the campaign.

MANY local banks seem to be abusing clients who spend hours in queues standing and waiting for services.

A visit to a number of local banks around Bulawayo reveals that people are made to queue as if they are going to a dip tank with chains on either side of the queue.

Most banks have not more than three tellers at any given time serving clients.

Under the prevailing economic environment, the need to reduce staff to cut costs is understandable. However, it is my proposition that banks must consider introducing benches or chairs for people to queue while seated.

Scores of aged and sick men and women have been seen struggling to cope with standing on the queues to get services.

I aware that in most banks’ first preference is given to senior citizens who are over 65 years, but these days many people are sick due to various diseases and need not to be tortured while seeking services at the banks.

Some clients interviewed in the queues emphasised the need to introduce benches and chairs. They said it would not cost must to introduce benches in banking halls.

Others said some banks in the Southern African region and local banks and other service providers had facilities that allowed people to queue while seated and this was very convenient for clients who should not labour to get services from the banks.

Most local companies do not have such facilities.

Is there a law that states that people should queue while standing or the banks and service providers simply don’t care about their clients?

One begins to think that management at these entities enjoys seeing people queueing for more than 30 minutes while moving at a snail pace due to slow services rendered by banks and others service providers. It appears others are always on go-slow.

There is need for residents’ associations to carry our surveys and engage various stakeholders on this issue before someone collapses while queuing at these entities.

Michael Ndiweni is Youth Network for Alternative Development programmes manager. He writes in his personal capacity.

Proposed local authorities bill dictatorial

Published: 31 October Bulawayo Agenda Newsletter – Ideas Festival 2014
By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni
Civil society organizations have questioned the motive behind the proposed harmonised Local authorities’ bill that gives too much power to the minister to make decisions on behalf of communities. They argued that a dangerous precedence has been set before where the ministry of local government has interfered with making of decisions by various local authorities in the country. This came out during the Civil Society Constitutional review held a local hotel as part of the Ideas Festival 2014. This local authorities bill is consolidation of Rural Councils(Chap 29:11) and Urban Councils Acts(Chap 29:15). It seeks to put the two into one Act of Parliament.
The Local Authorities Bill presents two main opportunities: (1) the implementation of provisions of the constitution which require an Act of Parliament and (2) reviewing some problematic provisions of one or other of the two Acts with a view to either improving some of them or removing them altogether. The constitution says there must be an Act that provides for local authorities. The proposed bill appears to be a copy and paste of the two previous act. Speaking at the constitutional review conference Tineyi Mukwewa programmes coordinator with Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers said “The bill has a weakness that it gives the president express prerogative that he or she may consult it does not guarantee the participation of citizen, it also gives unfettered powers to the minister responsible” The bill does not provide for the remittance of resources from central government to the provincial councils. He urged Civil society organizations and other stakeholders to learn best practices from other countries and proffer alternatives bills for example what Combined Harare Residents Associations who have sponsored a devolution bill and to lobby the government to include clear mechanisms for accountability in allocating and managing resources.
Civil society organizations also assessed progress made on the implementation of the Chapter 14 that provides for the Devolution of governmental powers through establishment of Provincials and metropolitan councils act. Addressing delegates at the conference Lizwe Jamela from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said that there is no enabling Act that has been enacted instead the president appointed provincial affairs ministers who are still operating as Governors from the previous constitutional dispensation and that this is a violation of Electoral laws in Zimbabwe.
Participants at the conference raised questions on the proposed Provincial and Metropolitan Councils on where does it put the district administrators or provincial administrators, the bill is silent on the provincial affairs minister. It speaks about provincial pieces of legislation but it is not clear on how this process will be done.