YMCA is an international non-profit organisation that is located in many countries, including Zimbabwe. For Africa, their vision is ‘Empowering young people for the African Renaissance.’
To combat COVID-19, YMCA Zimbabwe has been doing several things. Firstly they have been creating awareness on the reality of Coronavirus and educating people on how they can keep themselves safe, and as part of this awareness campaign they went on radio.
YMCA Zimbabwe has made sure that citizens are still able to stay fit during quarantine by circulating a poster that shows different exercises that people can do indoors. Furthermore, this organisation has a writing contest for the youth with the theme, “ I AM A RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN DURING THIS COVID-19 ERA!!!”
If you want to see more of their activities or connect with them, you can check out their Facebook page: YMCA ZIMBABWE
The African Union has decided to increase the effort against COVID- 19 by including African youth through the launch of the Africa Youth Front on Coronavirus initiative.This is a multi-stakeholder advocacy group of youth and intergenerational networks that will support the implementation of the African Continental Strategic Plan for the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Some youth have done consultations in regard to COVID-19 and here is an example of their findings:
-There is lack of recognition of youth’s critical role in preventing the spread of the virus and contributing to frontline responses to the global challenge
-Lack of effective and innovative communication to reach African youth in the communities who are either in denial of or fear from the virus
-Socio-Economic impact on youth (unemployment, food insecurity, gender-based violence, racism and discrimination, etc.)
The African Union is the first intergovernmental organization to create a high level policy and advocay framework for young people to co-lead Africa’s response to the pandemic, it is the African Youth Front on Coronavirus – Aya Chebbi (AU Youth Envoy)
Melrose Projects is a youth association that is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. The founder is Melisa Muraji who is passionate about empowering youth and women. Melrose has training programs that teach youth and women how to make different items such as, detergents, rugs, shoes and bags etc. They also do campaigns to discourage young people from Drug Abuse.
To help combat COVID-19 in the community, the Melrose Projects team has made hand sanitisers and freely distributed them in Mount Hampden village.They have also given out some face masks.
Some of the Future plans that Melrose Projects have to combat COVID-19 include the following:
– Carrying out awareness campaigns that encourage the youth and everyone else to abide by government instructions of social distancing. – Supplying the vulnerable with protective clothing eg masks and gloves – Supplying foodstuff to those struggling during the lockdown, so that they will not go out in the streets looking for food thereby risking their health and that of everyone else.
If you want to see more of Melrose Projects or connect with them, you can check out their Facebook page: Melrose Projects
Welcome to the African Young Warriors Fight COVID-19(AYWFC-19) series. In this series I’ll be featuring African youth that are doing their part to keep their communities safe and informed. As the rest of the world is doing their best to win the battle against Coronavirus, it’s no secret that a lot of African governments were not equipped for this kind of pandemic. Nonetheless some young African people are stepping up to the challenge, from making and distributing hand sanitisers to giving masks to the vulnerable in society. The African youth are really inspiring and have shown that they are movers and shakers in their countries.
I hope this series will inspire you to make a difference in your community, as we join hands to make the world safe again.
The Journey of entrepreneurship is one that is less travelled, but for those bold enough to start their own businesses, they can create opportunities and become wealthy. At the Youth Global Forum I met Rakesh Biswas and Suhas Gopinath who became entrepreneurs at a young age.
Rakesh is the Founder and Chairman of International Youth Society of Eco-Friendly and Renewable Technologies(IYSERT), which has operations in eight countries. He is the youngest person to have applied for 7 patents in India. Rakesh won Best Suggested Project Award(Social and Quality Improvements in India) at the Rhodes Youth Forum in 2012 and the SAM Global Youth Award in 2014.
Rakesh told me the importance of protecting my work through patents and giving back to my community even after I’ve become successful. We also had a good chat about his home state Rajasthan,where I had previously gone to for a friend’s wedding in the ‘Pink City’ Jaipur.
Suhas Gopinath is the founder of Globals and HappyEMI.Globals is a Web Solutions company that grew to become one of the biggest analytics company for the Education and Public sector.HappyEMI is a digital lending platform based in India. Suhas was honoured as a young global leader at the World Economic Forum. His other honours include being a Member of France’s Young Leaders Club, being a Winner of the New York Mayor’s Venture Fellow and being a Former Advisory Board Member of World Bank. At the age of 14, he was the world’s youngest CEO and BBC did a documentary about him.Check the link below for the documentary: https://youtu.be/BZ3MrxuqYd8
Suhas explained to me the importance of mentorship and knowing what mentor I need for the level that I find myself. He also encouraged me to take risks, and I found out that he followed Bill Gates to the bathroom to pitch himself(speak of being bold!). Interestingly, Suhas has been to my country Zimbabwe, where he did some youth projects with our former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara.
If you a young person and you want to be an entrepreneur, go ahead and start your journey. You can never be too young.
In February, I had the opportunity to go to an event called Creative Avenue in Harare. This was an event for the youth in the arts. There I saw many talented people who are fashion designers, jewellery makers, artists and musicians. The most inspiring part of this project was that a young man named Rowan was the brains behind the event. Rowan is passionate about youth in the arts showcasing their talent and gaining some opportunities.
Rowan pitched his Creative Avenue idea to the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Recreation, companies and some foreign embassies. Finally he was able to get funding from the British Council. Funny enough I wore my Union Jack T-shirt that day, I don’t know if it was intuition or just a coincidence.
Creative Avenue begins with a masterclass that lasts for two months. After the two months, creatives come together to showcase their talent at an event. Apart from organising Creative Avenue, Rowan also has a clothing line called Domane. You can check out their merchandise here: http://www.domane.co.zw/
For the last part of my heroine series, I go back to my home country Zimbabwe, to celebrate a phenomenal woman who has inspired generations. This woman is none other than Charwe Nehanda Nyakasikana(Mbuya Nehanda). She stood at the forefront of the first Chimurenga(“Revolutionary Struggle”) to resist the Colonial Settlers when they initially arrived. She carries the title Nehanda because she was a spiritual leader as well, a spirit medium.
Cecil Rhodes arrived in the country with the British South Africa Company( BSAC). When the BSAC invaded the country, they possessed the land, imposed heavy taxation and forced labour on the indigenous people. This oppression now led to a rebellion. Mbuya Nehanda and other leaders such as Sekuru Kaguvi were responsible for organising and directing people to resist the invasion.
The resistance began in 1896 till they captured Mbuya Nehanda and sentenced her to death by hanging 1898. The defeat came as they ran out of resources and the BSAC had superior firepower. This first resistance of colonialism was not in vain, as there was a second Chimurenga(“Revolutionary Struggle”) which gave birth to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
The story of this great woman’s, bravery, leadership and resistance to colonialism will be passed on to future generations. We celebrate you Nyakasikana; you continue to inspire Zimbabwean women to be strong leaders!
For the second part of my African heroine series,I am celebrating Wangari Muta Maathai(1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011), a political and environmental activist from Kenya. Although she is now late, she made a significant contribution to the African continent. This great woman was the first Africa woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize when she won in 2014. Also, she was the first woman in East Africa to have a Doctorate degree when she got her PhD in 1971 from the University of Nairobi.
Wangari studied Biology, getting her Masters from the University of Pittsburgh and also obtained a PhD. In 1977, she started the Green Belt Movement, an organisation that mobilised women in rural Kenya to plant trees, reverse deforestation, stop soil erosion while they make an income and have a source of fuel. By the early 21st century, the Green Belt Movement had planted about 30 million trees and had inspired similar projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
We celebrate this great heroine, continue to rest in power Wangari!