Gweru based civic society organisation, Community Solutions Zimbabwe (CSZ), Chairperson Pastor Paul Juru has challenged young people in Zimbabwe to be innovative and creative in coming up with relevant solutions to problems facing their respective communities.
By Delicious Mathuthu
He said this during a workshop in Gweru targeting youths in coming up with new ideas to engage in governance processes and dissemination of information.
Pastor Juru said youths should come out of their shells and start thinking critically because the turnaround in the current socio-economic and political challenges lies within them.
“If we understand the element of innovation and creativity as youths we can come up with brilliant ideas which we can then use to come up with the type of communities that we need.
“This is the clarion call of Community Solutions Zimbabwe. We cannot solve our problems in the community if we don’t have any new ideas which we are bringing in.
“We have brilliant youths we as Zimbabweans, we do have such minds but we remain dormant and docile.
“So it’s time we know that if we really come up with innovative ideas we can change the situations surrounding us; even at home the way we live, the problems that we are facing if we deeply think we can come out of these situations but the majority of us we have been living within the comfort zone.
“Let’s come out of our cocoons and think innovatively and creatively,” Pastor Juru said.
He said he believes in the power of youths as witnessed in the past by those who fought for the country’s independence.
“For us we were quite lucky, then I was around 16, 17 years I saw what I saw and those youngsters by then had one mind-set, team effort and they brought the change to independence.
“Right now we have challenges that we are seeing if we have any desire that we want to see happen within this country it is us who are going to be in a position to bring the change.
“Biblically, 1st Timothy 4:12 for those who are of a religious inclination, says ‘let no one despise your youth but set an example to do good in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity’.
“Let no one despise your youth, you are powerful, you are strategists, you are game changers in any environment. So as Community Solutions our Zimbabwean Solutions can only be but produced through people like you.
“We want everyone to be enjoying peace, harmony and tranquillity within our nation,” Pastor Juru said.
On the political front, Pastor Juru said youths should always choose people who can best represent them and their communities regardless of political affiliation.
“Zimbabweans should chase the goodness of God whilst we are still on mother earth. We don’t need to continuously suffer, we don’t need to continue being subjected to abject poverty we want to enjoy in our nation and who is going to do that? It’s going to be you.
“We want to see Members of Parliament being elected on merit; be it someone from Zanu PF (Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front), be it from CCC (Citizen Coalition for Change) or be it an MP from this other party, but they should be elected on merit, representing the will of the people.
“We as Civil Society we want the best to be representing the people and you as the youths should choose the best to represent the people,” he said.
Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) Advocacy and Research Officer Tafadzwa Macheka said the workshop is part of a two year project being done by eight organisations across the country, including Gweru based Community Solutions Zimbabwe to ensure that youths are engaged in coming up with innovative solutions to address problems that they are facing in communities.
“Once we get those innovations and solutions that can address our challenges we want then to try them out to see if they work, if they don’t work then that’s that but we want to be creative as we progress.
“The project will also try to address the beliefs that we have which push our behaviours in certain directions. For example in the family setup, it is not in our culture to engage, especially engaging younger people; the father’s salary for example is a secret.
“So such beliefs are about dividing youths from the elder generations which are some of the things that we want to address in this project,” Macheka said.
He said people with such backgrounds are the ones they are targeting with their advocacy work when they get into public offices as they tend to continue with the secrecy behaviours.
“From the eight partners we are working with, each partner identifies uniquely to their communities and addressing challenges peculiar to them.
“We have some focusing on financial inclusion, some advocating for the inclusion of youths in tender processes to give youths a quota so that they can be in business.
“There some who are focusing on capacitating young people on how to apply for tenders and then this side, working with Community Solutions we are addressing problems that are unique to our community and proffer solutions,” he said.
CSZ Director, Tobias Saratiel challenged youths to be entrepreneurial as they come up with sustainable solutions in their respective communities.
“So according to this project, there are five thematic areas and out of the five Midlands Province we chose two, one which speaks to civic engagement and participation of young people in influencing governance processes.
“Secondly, the issue of lack of access to critical and relevant information amongst young people which is then contributing to limited participation of youths in governance processes.
“We need to have an entrepreneurial mind-set because when we talk of innovation there is an aspect of entrepreneurship, but of course it’s not everything that is for business.
“There is need to deeply understand our problems first as a community which makes it easier to address the challenges,” Saratiel said.