On the occasion of the International Day of the African Child, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition pays special tribute to all the children in Africa. We are moved by the courage, resilience and hope that manifests itself in the continent’s young, knowing that all this is inspired by the June 16, 1976 uprising in Soweto, South Africa.
We call on African governments to pay particular attention to this day and to consider, specifically, the myriad of challenges African children – the girl-child in particular – are facing all over the continent.
In this regard, we re-affirm our call for African governments to act decisively in rescuing the 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by militant group, Boko Haram #Bring back our girls!
This year’s chosen theme: "A child friendly, quality, free and Compulsory Education for all Children in Africa" speaks directly to the cause of the Soweto uprising and it is our hope that it will be taken seriously.
In Zimbabwe, it is regrettable that this day comes as the education sector is in dire straits, with over one thousand (1000)university students recently failing to write examinations at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), and over one million (1,000,000) beneficiaries of the Basic Education Assistance (BEAM) failing to get support from government in 2014.
This is also coupled with the lack of economic opportunities for many young Zimbabweans after completing their various levels of education, including university graduates, due to debilitating high unemployment, which is a direct result of the government’s poor policies and many years of industry free-fall.
We strongly urge the government of Zimbabwe to address all these challenges as a matter of urgency through opening of educational opportunities through active government investment in the sector as envisaged by the new Constitution, including student support at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
The government must also follow up on its promise to create 2.2 million jobs in the next four years as a way of absorbing graduates into the economic sector.
We also urge the government to address other challenges faced by the youth such as lack of access to health facilities, child labour, child sexual abuse especially of girls, and HIV/AIDS related challenges, by offering support to orphans and child headed families.
In all its endeavours, the government must make a conscious effort of including youths in decision making through consulting youth formations in various sectors as well as respecting youth quotas where they are stipulated, or creating them where they are absent.
Issued by: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
1. Mfundo Mlilo, Spokesperson, Mobile: +263 772 127 397 / +1 612 483 0685
2. Joy Mabenge, Acting National Coordinator, Mobile: +27795584683 /+263772904479