Cyclone Idal ravages Zimbabwe
Our country has been hit by the adverse force of nature, cyclone Idai which left trails of destruction in the Eastern Highlands particularly Chimanimani and Chipinge. It has proven to be one of the worst natural disaster in Zimbabwe.
The tropical storm moved in from Mozambique and hit Eastern Zimbabwe with heavy rains and strong winds particularly Chimanimani and Chipinge. This resulted in loss of lives, displacement and destruction of properties. Up to date the death toll has risen up to approximately 82 and many more people are still missing according to preliminary reports. Infrastructure was destroyed including schools, clinics, shops, roads and more than 100 houses have been damaged in the town of Chimanimani. Among the dead are two students from St Charles Lwanga Seminary Secondary in Chimanimani.
As Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ) we are deeply saddened by the tragic situation as a result of Cyclone Idai, which has affected hundreds of people in Eastern Highlands. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families. We are calling upon each and every individual to extend a helping hand to the affected communities at such a difficult moment.
Psalms 147; 3
“He heals the broken hearted and binds their wounds”
International Women's Day
“She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future” Proverbs 31 vs25
The Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD) under the theme Balance for Better. International Women’s Day is observed on March 8 every year. Historically, the Women’s Day was born from the International Socialist Women’s Conference of 1910. It was agreed that a “Women’s Day” was to be held annually in celebrating social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. A call to action from the statues of Women Day was the accelerating gender equality. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in1917, March 8 became a Russian national holiday. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the Socialist Movement and Communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations and by 1980, 64 countries had signed and ratified the charter. To date, 185 countries have signed and ratified the CEDAW and UN Charter.
As Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ) we are currently and will continue working with women, focusing on empowerment and achieving gender balance as our calling. We believe that achieving gender balance is a responsibility for humanity where both men and women have got roles to play in achieving gender balance. As SCMZ, we will strive for the emancipation of women in attaining fair representation in decision making position, access to opportunities, resources and having control over their bodies in Public Spaces. We are calling for the equal participation and equal opportunities for both men and women. We are looking forward to that day when women will participate in developmental issues together with their male counterparts instead of operating in predefined menial roles.
We applaud the Zimbabwean government for having a constitution that inclusionary amplifies the voice of women. A Gender Policy and a Gender Commission was set as an avenue that stands for Women Empowerment. We also promise as SCMZ to fully participate in international programmes, major international instruments and protocols related to gender issues and emancipation of women.
Happy International Women’s Day
Follow women’s day on twitter #BalanceForBetter
From Apathy to Action
Luwiza Makosa and Emilie Larsen Ørneseidet with fellow Ballot Buddies at University of Zimbabwe.
In late 2016 then FK participants Emilie Larsen Ørneseidet, Jarand Hanto and 2017 FK participant Luwiza Makosa together with the Student Christian Movement team initiated the Ballot Buddies Network Campaign in Zimbabwe. The project came about as a way to address voter apathy amongst Zimbabwean youths for the upcoming 2018 general elections
It is with pleasure that we write to you, sharing our experiences working on the Ballot Buddies Network in Zimbabwe. Firstly let us introduce you to the Ballot Buddies Network. The Ballot Buddies was a strategic campaign aimed at mobilizing students and youths to register to vote in the Zimbabwe 2018 elections.
Initially limited to selected tertiary institutions, the Ballot Buddies Network , under the guidance of Youth Empowerment Transformation Trust (YETT), Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ) and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), grew into a national network targeting 2 million Zimbabweans between the age of 18 to 35 years to register to vote.The project came as a response to address the voter apathy existing among Zimbabwean youths.
- “It gives me great pleasure to see what this project has snowballed into and that so many organisations and youths have taken an interest in such an important cause”says Jarand Hanto.
The aim of the Ballot Buddies Network was to promote youth participation the electoral processes in Zimbabwe. More specifically to mobilize youths to register to vote for the 2018 general elections under the slogan “From Apathy to Action”. On a long-term basis, the project aimed to change attitudes and behaviours of the youth and encourage active youth participation in the national political discourse regardless of political affiliation. However the broader aim of the campaign was to promote the active participation of students and youths in electoral processes in Zimbabwe, building a critical mass of youths who are willing to peacefully participate in National processes.
The campaign message was discussed upon by stakeholders involved in the campaign that was the students, the campaign group leaders. It was interesting to note that various themes were suggested and some interesting ones were as follows (virgin finger- meaning first time voter), slay that thumb, X1G Reloaded, ballot buddy amongst other innovative campaign themes. Finally the group then decided to go with “APATHY TO ACTION”as the theme for the Ballot buddies network. Upto date the campaign still encourages young people to move from apathy to action.
In April 2017 a Ballot Buddies Boot Camp was held to educate Ballot “Buddies” on the campaign and electoral processes in general. The idea being for the attendees to establish provincial Ballot Buddies networks and coordinate voter registration locally. Emilie Ørneseidet explains:
-As exchange participants we were involved in the work with what was to become the Ballot Buddies network. Some of the work included contributing to development of the campaign material and campaign strategy. Here we worked in close cooperation with YETT and SCMZ,During the Boot Camp40 students coming from 5 different tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe gathered for a workshop to learn more about the Ballot Buddies and electoral processes in general. A crucial part of the Boot Camp was to capacitate the students in such a way so that they were prepared to educate and capacitate fellow students at their own institutions in the months that followed. At the Boot Camp the students were encouraged to further mobilize friends, colleagues, communities, churches and other off-campus connections to register to vote so that they too could access exclusive spaces and entertain, l was privileged to facilitate one of the sessions during the boot camp”
Apart from the Boot camps a number of activities were carried out and these included radio talk shows, Open day voter education serminas, students speak newsletters have were published sharing student experiences on voter registration in various districts among other activities.
Jean Betrand-Mhandu-2017-18 SCMZ Ballot Buddies Team Leader: “I was impressed by the exceptional participation of young people that we reached out to. Young people showed zeal to take up the campaign theme of moving from apathy to action. However, my worry is on the level of effort being put by CSOs and government to keep up the momentum to capacitate young people to their fullest potential to be the next leaders of our generation. I wish to see the efforts made by the Ballot Buddies to continue bearing fruits to the young people of Zimbabwe.
Our hope never dies...
Luwiza Makosaexpresses that, “We continue to CELEBRATE the exceptional youth participation in the Ballot Buddies, we also remain hopeful that the Zimbabwean situation will one day change and that we will see young people happy and being responsible for their communities.Until then the Ballot Buddies Network remain vigilant.
Ballot buddies leading team in Mashonaland Central Province,Bindura University
“Plight of Zimbabwean students studying in Russia”
Esther 4:14 says, “ ... you cannot remain silent at such a time as this, …”. It has come to our attention that Zimbabwean students studying in Russia under the presidential scholarship are caught between a rock and a hard surface and wish they could turn back the hands of time, back to the day they made the decision to study abroad. Stranded Zimbabwean students in Russia have posted a twitter thread, @ zimstudentsrussia accusing the government of turning a blind eye to their plight. It is alleged that it's been two years since the Ministry of Finance sent stipends to these students. Challenges and fears addressed by these students are as follows;
-Hunger- students are starving in Russia, they are attending classes on empty stomach
- Due to unpaid rentals, students are fearing that they could be barred from classes and hostels.
- The are also facing humiliation at the hands of school authorities for unpaid rentals
- Russia is known for its harsh weather conditions and Zimbabweans students are struggling to put in their mouth what more clothes they are very expensive.
According to the Russia Government Scholarship-a bilateral training agreement between Russia and Zimbabwe Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Russians pays only tuition costs while Zimbabwean government meets the living expenses. In the twitter messages students state that Russian government is fulfilling its obligations as per agreement while Zimbabwean government is failing. In January student representatives Fraternity Makande and Artwell Muzata met with President Mnangagwa to address the matter. He then assured them that their arrears were to be cleared by end of January 2019. However up to date there is nothing that has reflected in their bank accounts.
We as the Student Christian Movement, are concerned with student welfare issues we are deeply saddened and concerned about the welfare of these students. We therefore demand for an immediate official government response to this situation.We believe that your response will serve as transparency and accountability.
As the world commemorates the World Condom Day, it comes with its own conflicting feelings and ideas towards the subject, especially coming from a faith-based point of view.
For one thing, to the core of the Christian values, abstinence is the rule of law. Unless a couple is married (and there is need for one to use protection from his/her partner who is infected with an STI/D), then no discussion can be entertained concerning the use of contraceptives for premarital sexual activity. Those who fear God in the Christian context, understand the conditions that come with being a member of the Christian faith. Sexual behavior outside of marriage can fall in the category of fornication or adultery, depending on the actors, thus the use of contraceptives amongst young people (especially), is not condoned.
However, in the times we’re living in, so many diseases have overtaken the human race. STDs and HIV/AIDS have become part and parcel of our lives, directly or indirectly. It is important to keep raising awareness as it affects our lives one way or the other so as to protect ourselves from sexually transmitted diseases and/or infections.
In the same vein, not everyone adheres to the Christian faith therefore contraceptives should be used to protect oneself against incurable diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Not enough information has been disseminated regarding sexual and reproductive health due to our African culture regarding the conversation as taboo, while religion sees it as an abomination, if spoken about without the prospect of marriage somewhere in the near future. However, many young people are engaging in sexual activities, motivated by various factors, from a very tender age and it is of paramount importance to stress the need for young people to be responsible in their intimate relations and have access to information around sexual and reproductive health.
Take charge and protect thee body, the word of God says ,“your body is the temple of God”.
The Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Radio Day. World Radio Day is an observance day held annually on 13 February to celebrate radio as a medium. It was proclaimed on 3 November 2011 by UNESCO 36th General Conference after originally being composed by the Kingdom of Spain. This year World Radio Day will celebrate the theme of Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace.
There is more to the radio than just a show if we pay particular attention to the broadcasters. The platform can influence positive change; it brings together and connects PEOPLE from different parts of the world. Most of all it provides a platform for dialogue and democratic debate over issues such as violence against women, migration and even raising awareness among listeners and inspire understanding for new perspectives in paving the way for positive action in various issues. Radio programming can also build tolerance and surpass the differences separating groups by uniting them under common goals and causes, like ensuring education for one’s children or addressing local health concerns. Radio conveys vital information and raises awareness on important issues.
As SCMZ, we consider radio among others as a very noble and effective tool that is key for development and information dissemination. We are urge the local community and young people who are our primary target group to recognize the power of radio to promote dialogue, tolerance and peace among many other sustainable development initiatives..
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