|Kicking the Ball for Peace and National Development|
|Thursday, 10 May 2012 00:00|
Chinhoyi, 10 May, 2012: Reaching out to the provincial town of Chinhoyi, located about 120 kilometres north-west of the capital Harare, UNDP handed over 2000 soccer balls for distribution to schools and soccer teams in the area, as part of an initiative in support of youth participation in nation building through sport, spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Youth Council.
Inspired by the need to create awareness about the African Youth Charter of the African Union (AU), the National Youth Policy and other legal instruments affecting the youth, the UNDP-supported initiative also seeks to create awareness about Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) among more young people in Zimbabwe.
The event, which brought together an estimated 300 people including representatives of the provincial administration, political parties, youth groups and schools, was held at the Chinhoyi stadium, where spectators were treated to a thrilling soccer match played by two of the leading football teams from Chinhoyi.
Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation & Empowerment, Mr. Saviour Kasukuwere, who was the chief guest at the event described the occasion as an ‘historic’ demonstration of the Government’s commitment to youth development and welfare. “Athletics gets the best out of us,” he said, urging the youth to “use this opportunity to create a network of relationships that will propel you to the next level of development.”
The minister expressed gratitude to development partners, including UNDP for targeting youth in their development programmes.
Terming the youth as “tomorrow’s future leaders,” UNDP Country Director, Christine Umutoni said that the United Nations perceives young people as major asset in fulfilment of its mandate. “ For instance, the Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved without youth participation,” the Country Director observed, adding: “Whether it is the question of eradicating poverty, promoting gender equality, combating HIV & AIDS as well as ensuring environmental sustainability, peace building, the youth input and youth engagement is critical.”
According to the Zimbabwe Youth Council, the programme will target out of school youths who are not currently engaged in any productive activity. “It is through initiatives like these that young people will be able to participate on an informal platform for the development of the country,” states a document produced by the ZYC on the initiative.
UNDP, in its role as global MDG Monitor for the UN System, works closely with the Government of Zimbabwe, other UN agencies, and civil society organizations to enhance national commitment and engagement towards attaining the MDGs by 2015. With four years to go until the MDG deadline, lots more can and needs to be done in Zimbabwe to reverse some negative trends and further build on the positive ones.
Refer to related article: http://www.undp.org.zw/news/212-harnessing-the-power-of-sports-for-peace-building-undp-supports-youth soccer?3a1ed061a28f8a5e62fd4865066ea7fa=262c8e80c7cb853352963c4db1a1dabc
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