ZOU – DPN Club members joining the whole world in the 5th Annual commemoration of the Declaration of World peace

ZOU – DPN Club members joining the whole world in the 5th Annual commemoration of the Declaration of World peace

Today was just another day, with members of the ZOUDPN (Development Practitioners Network) Club joining the whole world in the 5th Annual commemoration of the Declaration of World peace. As we stood in the symbolic shadows of our forefathers who envisioned and brought into manifest a free, sovereign and Independent continent of Africa, we felt it an obligation and our responsibility to act for an Africa we want and deserve.

As an Academic club that seeks to bridge the gap between the Classroom and the outside world, today we demonstrated our dedication and commitment in working for the common goal of peace, guided by the Declaration of Peace & Cessation of War (DPCW) a new legal instrument seeking to promote a conflict free world.

The Declaration of Peace & Cessation of war (DPCW) is such a momentous decree that has come as a beacon light of hope to millions of people particularly from this part of the world. It urges for shared efforts of all members of society, calling for individuals to work as peace messengers. Many debates that have been conducted in the various public foras focuses on ending political violence and war as the roadmap to achieving peace. However with our understanding of the diverse nature of the world we live in today, we have come to a conclusion that, even though we may have been spurred the full flavor of war and armed conflict over the past years, peace remains an ever topical issue, taking into cognisence the changing nature of realities that are making it hard for people in the world to enjoy being at peace.

As long as there are still diverse issues of child marriages, tribalism, gender violence, domestic violence, hate speech, cyber bullying among many other issues, we will always bear the responsibility to see to it that messages of peace are conveyed to reach all corners of society to build a genuine and sustainable culture of peace.

Peace as postulated by many great leaders, including the late President Kennedy of the United States, is one of the most important topics on earth. In his 1963 address at the American University, President Kennedy said, “what kind of peace do i mean & what kind of peace do we seek”, he further went on to mention that ” its not the peace of the grave, or the security of the slave, i am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, not only peace in our time, but peace at all time”.

In the academic fraternity, we intellectualise, philosophise and moralise the issues of peace, today i submit to you that if we are to build genuine peace in our society, our approach has got to be practical, starting with valuing each other as individuals, paying due respect to others regardless of gender, race, tribe, age or any difference that may exist in society.

More often, many societies that have endured vicious ravaging and rampaging blows of conflict are plunged in such precarious situations due to their failure to confront their past when they look back, instead of learning from their errors, some groups seek relevence (political or ethnic) by uncovering those past wounds. In as much as i believe in reconciliation and healing, i also believe that societies must not allow themselves to be held hostage by their past, but should learn from it and craft a road map towards the achievement of Sustainable Development with which Peace is one of the goals as enshrined in the SDGs, goal 16.

I remember one of the most profound statements of the late Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nkomoh in 1987 during the signing of the Unit Accord when he said, “History has taken us this far, but it is our responsibility to become better”. His voice still echoes in my ears and from that profound decree, i learned that we should always preoccupy ourselves with forecasting and configuring the future and not the past. We all have a past but it should not hinder us from realising peace in the present and the future.

The road to Sustainability by 2030 and that of delivering the “Africa we want” through Agenda 2063 is a mammoth task that requires collective efforts from across all dimensions of society. As ZOU – DPN Club, we have fully pledged to join hands in partnerships and collaborations with other Organisations that seek to set our society on the tragectory of “leaving no one behind” in pursuit of the seventeen ambitious SDGs adopted by UN member states in 2015. Today we are happy to have joined with IPYG, ZUNA and many other compatriots from the civil society as well as the academia in what will go down in history as one of the memorable moments for the young men and women of Africa who partook in the just ended Peace walk from Harare’s Town House to Harare Gardens.

As concluding remarks let me say that, to live peacefully we must learn to tolerate others, settle our grievances and differences peacefully. Meanwhile effacing prejudice from the minds of our young men and women, boys and girls can be the first step towards building a culture of genuine and sustainable peace. Peace for all generations.

Let me at this juncture take off my hat for my fellow colleagues in the ZOU-DPN Club who made the march a success through their participation and more importantly their sacrifice in time and resources. I am also very grateful to my colleagues in the SRC – ZOU Harare for supporting our club from its time of inception through to this event. May you all continue to support dreams that can make us realise the ZOU we want.

To the entire students community at ZOU, we say, “in as much as Zimbabwe is Open for Business, DPN Club is open for business”, feel free to come and join us to participate in our various Club events and activities.

#Take your Passion & Compassion and lets create the ZOU we want!

From *D.P Mbizvo’s* desk

(DPN Club – President)

SRC secretary for Legal & Academic Affairs (ZOU Hre Region).

Science Doing More Harm Than Good

Science Doing More Harm Than Good

Science has a major impact on society and its impact is growing. It is drastically changing our means of communication, the way we work, our housing, clothes, food and our methods of transportation, and, indeed, even the length and quality of life itself. By making life easier, science has given man the chance to pursue societal concerns such as ethics, education, justice, creating cultures and improving human conditions. But it has also placed us in the unique position of being able to destroy ourselves. These impacts have resulted in various scholars and experts arguing if science has done more harm than good. This article will highlight some of the keys improvement brought by sciences as well as its adverse impacts. UNESCO set aside a World Science Day for Peace and Development which looks at the important role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives. By linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable.

Transportation, medicine, clothes, gadgets, all of them have done more good than harm.  Science is responsible for shrinking time and space. Gone are the days when people travel long distances to communicate, now people communicate via phone or internet, planes and ships mean people no longer need to transport things by foot. Transportation “used to take weeks, even months, now minutes or seconds”. The Cash Transfer Programs that involve giving cash grants to poor people in low-income countries rely on mobile phones. This makes the activities of the program less costly and efficient.

African entrepreneurs are now interested in how farmers work and how they can help improve yields. The barrier of entry into farming technology has dropped, as cloud computing, computing systems, connectivity, open-source software, and other digital tools have become increasingly affordable and accessible. Entrepreneurs can now deliver solutions to small-size African farms at cost models that farmers can afford. For example, aerial images from satellites or drones, weather forecasts, and soil sensors are making it possible to manage crop growth in real time. Automated systems provide early warnings if there are deviations from normal growth or other factors. As a result of these advancement farm productivity in Africa has accelerated at a faster rate than the global average.

However, science has been fingerpointed for causing wars. Scientists discovered mass weapons of destruction which are being used to kill people. Other negatives of science inventions motorbikes, motor cars, and factories destroy the ozone layer, which contributes to global warming. Internet mobile phones promote prostitution with pornographic sex industry.

It has been questioned if scientists are responsible for the potentially negative impacts of their work? Some have argued that the answer to this question is no—that it is not researchers’ responsibility how science gets used in society. Scientists are responsible for both the impacts they intend and some of the impacts they do not intend if they are readily foreseeable in specific detail.  These are the ethics to which they all hold.  If one negligently throw a used matchstick into a dry field, that individual would be responsible for the resulting wildfire and not the scientist. Great scientist like Einstein is not responsible for the use of his E=mc2 equation to build an atomic bomb and its use in wartime. It can be concluded that science is a double aged sword and its impact depends on the one using it.

16 June Day of The African Child

16 June Day of The African Child

On this day 41 years ago, thousands of children in Soweto, South Africa, protested about the poor quality of their education and the fact that the minority white language was being forced into their schools. That peaceful demonstration ended in bloodshed – and out of the tragedy came the Day of the African Child where we made a promise to our children that never again would they face such abuse from the state. An oath was made to protect, provide and empower.

This year’s theme for the day was: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity. This theme calls upon all policymakers, parents and caregivers to examine progress made and build upon it. We need, therefore, to have by now made progress on protection, empowerment and equal opportunity for our children so much so that we are getting into the acceleration mode and should be focusing on reaching every child’s needs.

For Zimbabwe, this year’s occasion of the Day of the African child offers an opportunity to evaluate progress made in ensuring that children are protected from any form of abuse. Section 19 of the Constitution provides for children’s rights where every child is to be protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse and have access to appropriate education and training. This form of abuse that children must be protected from include political violence, violence in the personal sphere that is the home and the school. We need to examine what progress has been made at family level and at policy level.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

In 2015, the world agreed a new set of global goals. Building on the Millennium Development Goals, they are known as the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs which 193 countries, including Zimbabwe, agreed to adopt starting January 2016.  The SDGs cover a wide range of issues. They include traditional MDGs areas such as poverty, hunger, health, education, and gender inequality but add new topics such as energy, infrastructure, economic growth and employment, inequality, cities, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, forests, oceans, and peace and security (CAFOD, 2016)

The aim of the 17 SDGs is to secure a sustainable, peaceful, prosperous and equitable life on earth for everyone now and in the future. The goals cover global challenges that are crucial for the survival of humanity. They set environmental limits and set critical thresholds for the use of natural resources. The goals recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic development. They address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection and job opportunities while tackling climate change and environmental protection. The SDGs also addresses key systemic barriers to sustainable development such as inequality, unsustainable consumption patterns, weak institutional capacity and environmental degradation (UN, 2016).

Development Practitioners Network (DPN) & SDGs

DPN understands that for the goals to be achieved, everyone needs play their part. This includes governments, the private sector, civil society and all individuals.

At DPN, we adopted goal number 4 which focuses on the acquisition of foundational and higher-order skills; greater and more equitable access to technical and vocational education and training and higher education; training throughout life; and the knowledge, skills and values needed to function well and contribute to society.

We have formed partnerships with a number of secondary schools, colleges, universities to offer training. Our training packages include Catch Them Young and Work Preparedness Training. The organisation will continue incorporating SDGs in its programs. To learn more on the Catch Them Young training please contact blessing@dpn.org.zw, info@dpn.org.zw or call us on 04 776 112

“Spare the Rod Spoil the Child” Retrogressive or Progressive Move???

“Spare the Rod Spoil the Child” Retrogressive or Progressive Move???

The recent ruling by The High Court of Zimbabwe against corporal punishment on children in the home and school has been faced by an outcry amongst most of the Zimbabwean populace. The main sentiments being raised in the public sphere has been that the ban will result in a generation of rowdy behaviour among children while those in authority will have nothing to use in disciplining children that are under their control.  This is on the lines of the common adage ‘” spare the rod, spoil the child” A general implication is thus being made that corporal punishment is synonymous with child discipline and vice-versa such that the banning of the former means children can no longer be disciplined. The outcry is we have heard the ruling but what then do we use to discipline our children.

So, a question arises are we saying our children are not evolved enough to have appropriate discipline without the rod. The common belief is that fear of the rod deters children from straying from the right path. For many Zimbabweans “shamu” is the corrective measure they were raised on and many have supported it as an effective method in ensuring we raise disciplined, groomed efficient adults.

Proverbs 13vs24 “Whoever spares the rod hates their children” when culture meets religion. References to the bible have been made to support beating of children as an appropriate means of discipline.  Argument is we have been doing fine so far as a society with corporal punishment measures in place. Some people declare it is their God given right to beat their children as they please.

But where do we draw the line of corporal punishment. With the advent of social media there has been waves of videos circulating of children being beaten in the most disturbing ways. Clearly some people exaggerate the levels of it just being discipline. Children have been physically injured and maimed in the name of corporal punishment. Rights activists have put forth arguments based on study that beatings are not just physically harmful but have long term psychological effect on the growth of a child.

Alvin Poussaint, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School:”Researchers have also found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. None of this is what we want for our children.”

Furthermore, some have said let us not operate in extremes but find a way to compromise and meet in the middle. Let there be measures put in place to regulate appropriate corporal punishment in schools and the home. For example, there is cases of children being kicked, spat on assaulted with hands etc and this loses essence of discipline and becomes abuse. Such methods result in a broken individual who goes on to inflict the same kind of abuse on their children and other people. Resulting in a vicious cycle of violence.

The debate continues but reality is implementation is going to be a long way coming because in the current Zimbabwean society no child will drag a teacher let alone their parent to the courts for beating them up. Are we delivering on the promise that was made to the African child?

From the Sweat of Our Children

From the Sweat of Our Children

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE STREETS OF OUR COUNTRY……. children in rags selling miscellaneous items from food to handmade key chains, small children begging motorists at robots whilst their mothers sit at the sides of the road watching at makeshift mini markets. Children vendors at every corner, street kids flooded in the streets. Drive down out of the city centres and children are ploughing in the fields, hungry children at growth points vending. Child labour in Zimbabwe is on the rise due to the economic crisis in the country. Children are forced to work to complement the little money that their parents will be earning. Zimbabwe also has an alarming high number of orphans and this is also the major drive to child labour. According to UNICEF, of Zimbabwe’s 1.3 million orphans, close to 100,000 are living on their own in child-headed households. Children are forced to leave school and find work as street vendors or labourers on tobacco farms, tea and sugar plantations, and in mines in order to support younger siblings.

According to a 2010 UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report, 13 percent of Zimbabwean children are engaged in child labour which the International Labour Organization (ILO) defines as work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful to children and that interferes with their schooling. According to Pascal Masocha, national coordinator of the Coalition against Child Labour in Zimbabwe the figure is closer to 20% in the capital. Child labour has taken various forms that have been clothed acceptable in our society. Let us reflect on the age of domestic workers in the urban households in Zimbabwe…most women have been heard saying they prefer to employ domestic helpers between the ages of 13-17 because they are easier to control and in some instances these girls are from the rural areas and end up overworked and unpaid. Some people are of the opinion that work is part of good child breeding because it teaches them responsibility, some say it is better for the orphaned child to work and get the bare minimum because then at least he will not go totally hungry. But it is the birth right of children to be protected and given a chance to be a child and carefree. Pascal Masocha also cautioned that it is important to distinguish between child work and child labour because in our culture since time immemorial children have helped their parents tend the fields, it only becomes child labour if it affects the child’s health or impacts on their attendance in school.

For half a century, renowned tea company Tanganda ran a scheme called the “Earn and Learn” in which children worked in the fields in return for educational support. The company boasted that the programme provided an education to under-privileged children. But rights groups accused it of exploitation due to the deplorable state of the young workers and as evidenced by deep scars, chapped hands and a high drop-out rate. A timetable agreed between Tanganda and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education stipulated that the children work from 4:30am until noon, and then attend classes from 1-5pm (with some variations depending on the season). Children were required to work for six days a week, 50 weeks a year. These contracts were negotiated without parental consent and according to a contract seen by African Arguments, the only protective equipment provided to employees were open sandals cobbled from worn-out tyres (known as manyatera) and canvas aprons. The children also benefited food and accommodation from Tanganda. To cover their monthly fees of $5 for tuition, $3 for accommodation and another $3 for food, the children earned a dollar for every 60 kg of tea they picked. Some children had to pick several times their own body weight in tea each day just to earn a paltry living.

Four years ago, amidst media criticism and concerns about its international reputation, Tanganda finally submitted to pressure and abandoned the scheme. However, in the absence of a safety net for the students who were part of the programme, the situation facing Chipinge’s children has changed but arguably not got any better. The children were not provided with any psycho social support and some have resorted to prostitution and theft whilst some are stuck struggling through vending and have raised sentiments that the Tanganda predicament was a better evil in their lives.

Small scale farmers in Zimbabwe are also thriving on child labour their argument and defence is they do not directly employ these children but employ the adult males who in turn bring their wives to help lessen the load of work, these women then bring in the children to speed up the work process. Child labour is also rampant in small illegal mines where the small build of children is conducive to wriggle through the small makeshift manholes.

Both Zimbabwe’s Constitution and the Children Act state that children under the age of 18 should be protected from child labour unless working as part of a course in a technical or vocational school. Section 19 (3) (a) and (b) of the constitution addresses child labour. Legislation is supposed to protect children from exploitative labour practices and from work that is inappropriate for their age or could harm their well-being and education. However, the ZimStats 2014 Child Labour Report show that children below the age of 18 years make up close to 50 percent of the total population in Zimbabwe, of these children, 72 percent live in the rural areas and 55,5 percent of them are economic child labourers who live in households where the head earns between $1 and $100 per month. This is the reality of our country at the moment, the sad truth being no matter the efforts put by rights activists to end child labour it’s a losing battle because the root cause is not those employing these children but the economic situation. Zimbabwe’s social services have not succeeded in completely guaranteeing the rights of children and their rights are violated every day.

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