By Mercy Ngwebvu – Zimbabwe Youth Network (ZIYON), a made up of 25 youth organizations on Tuesday 7th of September at Quill Club in Harare launched a Sports for Peace Campaign initiative attended by various stakeholders.. Presentations were made by the Executive vice chairperson of ZIYON, a member from of the youth organization representing Pace Setters Youth Network, also from the arm of the ministry of education director general from Sports and Recreation Commission, Mr Nhemachena.
This launch of Sports of Peace comes barely a week after a leading consortium of organizations headed by Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) launched a campaign to promote peace, tolerance, cohesion and national healing under the theme “You and I can make peace happen.’’
Sports for peace campaign aims to distribute sports equipment to designated sports centers, institutions of higher learning, schools, youth centers and orphanages across the county’s ten provinces mostly in marginalized communities .Distributions will be carried out through ZIYON’s alliance of youth organizations. The beneficiaries of the initiative are the youths themselves. Addressing the gathering, the ZIYON spokesperson said his organization had secured 120 sets of sporting equipment for volley ball, basket ball and table tennis ready to be donated to the respective beneficiaries.
Spokesperson Michael Mabwe said, ‘’our project is acknowledging that there is a struggle that has to be fought in Zimbabwe. We are fighting a pro peace; pro freedom and pro youth participation battle because we are being left out in different processes. We are in this battle to create peaceful societies because in the absence of peace our future hangs in the balance.”
He also said that it is critical to understand the role of the youths in politics.” Youths are just needed by politicians close to election time in the field and not in the offices for violent reasons.’’ The wholesale of the campaign is premised in encouraging youths to be independent critical thinkers empowered to assume owned up activities devoid of manipulation from politicians.
“As the youths we must establish ourselves as independent and objective thinkers who can use sports and other art forms as a medium to communicate pro peace gospel” said Mabwe.
Reflecting on the just ended World Cup in South Africa won by the Spanish team earning them their maiden title, the vice chairperson Miss Vongai Munesti elaborated how powerful a tool sport is to foster peaceful engagement and to cut across the various barricades that seek to divide. She highlighted that although the Spanish team was entirely made up of arch rivals in the Spanish League Barcelona and Real Madrid, the players from the two divides managed to blend well for a national cause and won the most glorious prize in the history of world sporting.
Mr Nhemachena applauded the initiative and encouraged ZIYON to exploit partnerships to improve on implementation and the follow up management of the donated equipment. He said there is room to partner with the commission on similar initiatives they were running like the Community Sports Development Program.
Sports for Peace Campaign coincide with the Africa Union’s declaration of 2010 as the year of peace and security. The declaration places huge responsibility on the youth as the critical drivers of peace in their respective communities.