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PYD statement on the commemorations of the Day of the African Child
Platform for Youth Development
June 16, 2011

Platform for Youth Development Trust (PYD) joins the rest of Africa in commemorating the Day of the African Child. This year's commemorations under the theme "All Together For Urgent Actions In Favour of Street Children" is a call for action. PYD notes the importance of this day in the history of the continent and will be commemorating it in style at Checheche Primary School in Chipinge on the 22nd of June 2011.This is the third successive commemoration by the organization since 2009.

The Day of the African Child has its origins on June 16 1976 when black school children in Soweto, Johannesburg, took to the streets to protest against the imposition of Afrikaans as the language of instruction, and against the inferior quality of their education. On that day, the apartheid South African regime unleashed the police and state apparatus that fired teargas and live ammunition killing hundreds and injuring thousands in the process. The Organization of African Unity (OAU), a continental body, earmarked the day to honor those who died as well as to draw attention to the welfare of African children. As we commemorate the 21st edition of the Day of the African Child, we are challenged to look into the plight of street children who are experiencing all sorts of difficulties ranging from lack of food, proper shelter, education and primary health facilities. The commemorations is a call to all individuals, organizations and African governments to come together, join hands and take lasting action in resolving the issue of street children.

The onus is on us Africans to come up with strategies and measures to alleviate the challenges faced by children resulting in them opting out of homes to the streets. As PYD we believe African governments are failing in their mandate to afford education to every child. Reports of massive school dropouts continue to make headlines in the media without government action. We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to dump western elitist ideologies and policies to ensure that the masses of Zimbabwe are beneficiaries to their policies. We also wish to challenge the government of Zimbabwe to take urgent action and see to it that children rights are top on the agenda list.

Millennium Development Goals compel governments to work towards certain set goals including education. Education for all by 2015 is one of key goals set on the MDGs, four years left and we are still driving in the reverse gear. Government is mum when some schools are charging exorbitant fees and levies, examination fees is preventing thousands of students from writing examinations.

As we commemorate the Day of the African Child, PYD encourages state and civic society actors to work together in improving the conditions of the young people. If stakeholders work together and respect their different roles, then community development will be attained. The commemoration is once again an opportunity to remind the Government of National Unity to take the welfare of young people practically and seriously.

PYD therefore raises the following issues that demand urgent action from the government of Zimbabwe;

  • Young people remains desperate and highly unemployed.
  • Young people are denied access to loans due to the repressive requirements such as collateral security.
  • Young people in schools, colleges and universities cannot afford to pay their tuition.
  • Young people remains the most affected and vulnerable group to the deadly HIV/AIDS.
  • Young people remains a minority in political offices, even by appointment.
  • Young people continue to be used as agents not actors and factors in development issues in Zimbabwe.

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