Today was just another day, with members of the ZOU – DPN (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).
The Department of Development Studies at Great Zimbabwe University has been a key affiliate to the DPN particularly in the DPN Tertiary Debate programme, the university managed to send in the Development Studies Debate Team for the debate session which was part of the Development Practitioner Convention 2017. Thus, when they invited us to make a presentation at their institute we were glad to accept the opportunity to have a contact with our aspiring Development Practitioners still studying Development Studies at the institute.
On the 27th of October, DPN team took the road to the Great Zimbabwe University Mashava Campus, Masvingo. The session was scheduled on a 2-hour slot that was to be conducted with the DPN staff, characterised with a participatory DPN presentation, giving the information about Development Practitioners Network, the membership, training as well as the proposal of the DPN Club. The target audience of the presentation was the Development Studies students at the tertiary institute, with the focus aimed at launching the DPN presence at the tertiary institute which was to try to make foundation layout for the long-awaited launch of the DPN Club for tertiary institutes.
There was an interactive session before the presentation that was conducted by the NC. She duly tackled basic CV writing skills, interview tips and basic Development Practitioner etiquette which was soundly received with the positive and good participation of the students giving their feedback and experiences. The Training Officer took the stage and effortlessly presented on the DPN training packages and programmes for tertiary students like Work Preparedness and Youth Life Skills. He further hammered on the importance of networks and the benefits of becoming a DPN member. The session ended with the distribution of DPN registration forms to the students who wanted to become members of the DPN which were widely received by the students with a majority able to submit their application after the presentation and some submitting the online applications.
Inclusively, it was a pleasure to attend to the invitation, it was worthwhile. The staff managed to tackle every question that was thrown in their way by the inquisitive students and gave the advice needed, seamlessly. As an organisation, we believe the networking was crucial to our drive to appeal to all Development stakeholders in all aspects. We would like to give the special thank you to the Department of Development Studies at Great Zimbabwe University, staff and the students that took part in the visit to come to a success, we are proud to be a part of you as Development Practitioners Network. Thank you!
The success of any event is based on the attendance of its guests. We would like to thank the different individuals who took time to attend and participate in the Development Practitioners Convention 2017. We would like to acknowledge and thank Government officials, representatives and students from tertiary institutions, DPN partner organisations, various civil society organisations, representatives and students from high schools and various other stakeholders that graced the event.
Special thanks to our sponsors Thincbizz Accounting, Destiny Travel Tours and the main sponsor Powertel Telecommunications.
Development Practitioners Convention 2017 Highlights
DPN continues to place emphasis on Networking and Development. This year’s theme Development Reality: Collectively Envisioning the Future sought to draw the attention of all stakeholders to the importance of working together for the achievement of development. This year the Convention theme sought to address the realities of the state of the global developing society. Hence our presentations were in line with modern development. Brighton Musevenzo gave an insightful presentation on SDGs, whilst Lovemore Nyatsine unpacked how ICT has not just propelled development but has also transformed lives. Gabriel Chipara on Financial literacy emphasized the need to budget and cautious spending in the current economic state.
The event kicked off with a presentation on the theme from Dr Kwaramba. She started off with a very powerful quote “There is a special place in hell for people who do not work together” she said. She positively spoke on how Zimbabwe has a very bright future if we dare work together and sustainably. She placed emphasis on all individuals taking ownership of the society because social and environmental ills affect everyone despite where we live or how we live.
Brighton Musvenzo smoothly took over and gave a presentation shedding the spotlight on the plight of youth and the importance of youth participation in SDG policy implementation. He focused on giving us statistics of the youth demography in the world and highlighted how 85% of the youth in the world live in developing countries, approximately 250 million youth live in impoverished countries and survive on less than a dollar a day. He urged that youths should actively participate in the implementation of SDGs as they are more beneficial to the youth demography. He encouraged stakeholders and policymakers to be highly aware of the positive contribution that youth skills and innovation has in policy implementation. Youth participation in advocacy is also an important aspect in the implementation of the SDGs.
Lovemore Nyatsine took over to present ICT for Development and he shared a memory from the year 2000 when he was in Kenya with Mr Strive Masiyiwa, Strive Masiyiwa said to him “do you know that 75% of Africans have never heard a ringtone of a cell phone let alone held one. But today more than fifty percent of the population has been connected due to ICT for Development. “He talked about how platforms and applications have transformed our lives, for example, Facebook, YouTube etc. Virtualisation and software have created endless possibilities to an extent that you can set up an entire business in the cloud without having any hardware on the ground. Technology has created convenience and self-service and data analytics narrow down information to your interests and needs.
Gabriel Chipara kicked off his presentation on Financial literacy with a bible verse “A feast is made for laughter and wine makes merry, but money answers everything” Ecclesiastes 10vs19. He spoke to the inner nature of humans that seeks security in life and that security is attained by jobs in our society. He stressed it’s important to have a life roadmap that will eventually lead to financial security.
Guest of Honour Speech
The speech was delivered by Mr J. Banda from the Department of Social Services on behalf of Mr Soko The Director of the Department of Social Services. He was very pleased with the theme and hammered on the importance of civil societies complying to Government regulations and cooperating and complementing government efforts.
One of the objectives of DPN is to ensure the interests of students and ensure they have a platform to participate. It is in that spirit that this year the debate was a two-day round-robin tournament that kicked off with five universities namely Zimbabwe Open University, Great Zimbabwe University, Catholic University in Zimbabwe, Midlands State University, Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University. The thematic areas debated on were International Aid, SDGs, economic empowerment. The first day saw ZOU and MSU emerging as the final two teams. They faced each other on the topic Are universities equipping graduates with skills that the job market needs or have some degree programmes lost relevance in the current economy? MSU triumphed and won the Development Practitioners Debate Award 2017.
Research Paper Launch
Mr Mubaiwa Marufu gave a background on the launch of the Research paper portal. DPN recognises that the relationship between research and development is very intricate. When we talk of development we talk about innovation and this innovation has to be evidence-based. Hence DPN is launching the research portal to promote research in development work. Mr Marufu encouraged Civil Society Organisations to work very closely with academia in research work on their projects. He urged that we all work closely in cultivating the spirit of research in development as development is not just the implementation on the ground but it all starts on paper. DPN would like to thank all those who submitted their abstracts and we look forward to working together in successfully launching the Development Research Portal.
Vote of Thanks
Pastor Maketo one of the DPN board members gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the DPN Board Chairperson Mr Faifi. He extended a heartfelt thank you and appreciation to all participants. He commended the participation of all present and reiterated that the solidarity shown by different stakeholders is a sign of success in “Collectively Envisioning the Future”
In the year 2000, veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle against white minority rule started occupying white-owned farms, thereby setting in motion a process which came to be simultaneously labelled the Third Chimurenga (Revolutionary Struggle), “Jambanja” (Chaos) or simply land repossessions by a polarized political community within the country and abroad. Prime land, which had belonged to the minority whites was being re-taken via a combination of statutes, rhetoric and militant actions involving politicians, youths, peasants, and activists buoyed by the exigent need to end the unequal distribution of land and other national historical imbalances. Officially, Zimbabwe had entered the decolonial phase of land reform. So much has been said and written about this period across several disciplines. Nearly two decades later, the spectra of land reform in Zimbabwe remains and there is need for a scholarly re-audit of the process.
The proposed “Beyond” the Land Reform in Zimbabwe Conference seeks to present the latest research and debates on developments following the country’s radical re-configurations of its land and agrarian questions. The focus is on the challenges, successes, predictions and discourses that have ensued from the program in light of the multifaceted changes obtaining in Southern Africa and beyond. These include shifts in the global political terrain, the emerging politics of resource nationalism, increased migration, technological advances, climate change, and population growth. The conference therefore attracts presentations from multiple fields in the humanities and social sciences and allows for inter- and multi-disciplinary conversations.
Presentations will evolve around a number of themes on the land reform. Among these include:
- Livelihoods and land
- Land and Migration
- Emerging politics of land and reform in Southern Africa
- Recent social histories of resettled lands
- Land reform history lessons for Southern Africa
- The historical character of land reform in Zimbabwe
- Public-Private ownership
- Command agriculture
- Land reform and sustainable development
- Conflicts among the new farmers
- Religious perspectives on Zimbabwe’s land reform
- Land reform and its implications on diverse cultures
- Church beneficiaries of land
- Political theology of Zimbabwe’s land reform
- Religious debate on land reform
- Land reform and Zimbabwean spirituality
- Literary and media discourse on the land reform
- Land reform and the dynamics of natural resource conservation and preservation
- Land reform and archaeological sites in Zimbabwe
- The historical con-texts of land reform
- Linguistics and the land reform
- Land rights, their inflections (other associated struggles) and infractions
Abstract and submission process
Abstracts of between 250 and 350 words should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com by the 15th of May 2017. In addition, authors should send their full contact details (title, name, address, email-address, telephone and institutional affiliation). These should appear below the abstract.
Publication of papers
We envisage a common publication, such as a special journal issue or an edited book, using selected conference papers.
Due date for abstracts: 30 May 2017
Feedback on abstracts: 15 June 2017
Due date for full papers: 15 August 2017
Conference date: 29 September 2017
The conference registration fee is $100. This will cover conference material as well as meals for the duration of the conference.
Venue: Midlands State University, Zimbabwe, Zvishavane Campus