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Youth Forum launches the "Youth Election Manifesto" competition
Youth Forum
November 24, 2011

Background

Young people are an integral part of society and their input and participation in their countries' governance is necessary to effect political and economic reform. However, many lack the skills and opportunity to communicate with policymakers and get involved in their country's development. Youth are often disengaged from the political process and rarely develop the sense of citizenship that is so crucial to building an inclusive, participatory democracy.

Young people are often the victims of tyranny and are widely disempowered and impoverished; particularly in Africa where the culturally embedded belief is that young people must only be seen and not heard. It is sad to note that the participation of youths in most African political parties is mainly confined to acting as the private militia of such political parties, and the role of young people is to mete out violence against opponents of their parties.

It is, however, encouraging to note that the trend is slowly being broken given the rising levels of literacy amongst young people and the social changes and exchanges brought about by globalization and access to information. Young people are intensifying their demand for political space and their right to participation. However, their need for involvement is not fully appreciated and they are often gagged and systematically silenced.

Justification

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, states that "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives." Young people form the bulk the world's and Zimbabwe's population and are therefore entitled to citizen participation. Citizen participation is a process where people seek to influence decisions of government.

Young Zimbabweans have promised to come out and vote in their numbers in all coming elections. This has been realised through the Youth Forum's "Youth Go Register and Vote" campaign the organization is running, aimed at adding one million young voters to the voters' roll before the next election. With many youths registering and promising to register and vote, the Youth Forum has decided to take the campaign one step further, by helping the youths choose what (and not who) to vote for.

This will be achieved through the "Youth Election Manifesto" competition where youths voters aged 17-24 years will come up with issues they want addressed by those who want the very significant youth vote.

The Youth Election Manifesto Competition

As a young person, there are certain problems or challenges that the youth, you included, are facing in Zimbabwe. Clearly identify these problems and challenges as well as explaining how you would want the country's next government to address these problems and challenges so that the situation of youths in Zimbabwe can be improved. You are also expected to explain why you would sacrifice your time to vote for certain individuals/party and not others during the next elections that will be held in Zimbabwe.

NB: there is no limit to the length of this essay and each entrant reserves the right to present their work in the format that they feel expresses their work to the fullest. Entrants can also present their work in a language of their choice.

Eligible entrants should meet the following criteria:

1. A registered voter

2. Be between the ages of 17 and 24 years.

3. All manifestos can be sent to the following email addresses:

Or can be brought to:

Room 701, 7th Floor
FBC House (Opposite Construction House)
113 Leopold Takawira
Harare

4. All entrants must be sent by the 15th of January 2012.

A panel of judges will be contracted by the Youth Forum to select the top 5 manifestos/essays and these will be ranked accordingly. The winning entrant will receive a prize of US$300 as well as a chance to represent the Youth Forum at a Leadership Training School for 2012 while the four runners up will receive consolation prices at a ceremony to be hosted by the Youth Forum.

Visit the Youth Forum fact sheet

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