By A Correspondent- A Chipinge-based youth empowerment lobby grouping, Platform for Youth and Community Development Trust, is conducting peacebuilding training workshops in Manicaland where they are encouraging communities to desist from engaging in political violence.
The organisation’s director, Claris Madhuku, said they wanted to promote peace and tolerance among communities as the country prepares for the 2023 elections.
Madhuku said this in his statement to mark the 2022 International Day of Peace.
Below is PYCD’s 2022 International Day of Peace statement:
PYCD Statement on the International Day of Peace 2022 edition Platform for Youth and Community Development Trust (PYCD) joins the world to commemorate the International Day of Peace. The theme for this year in 2022, as announced by the United Nations, is “End racism. Build Peace”.The International Day of Peace is an opportunity for PYCD and the world to devote time to strengthening the ideals of sustainable peace, non-violence and ceasefire. This year’s celebrations come amid the Russian – Ukraine war that has escalated into an international humanitarian crisis threatening food security, international relations and world peace. As messengers of sustainable peace, PYCD is celebrating this day by presenting to the world some of our work to prove that local peacebuilding is needed more than ever if the world is to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and, in particular, SDG 16. SDG 16, which calls for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, seeks to provide access to justice by building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Strong institutions promote the pursuit of administrative justice for vulnerable members of our society and assist in fighting racism and discrimination and instead build sustainable peace. We take note that racism, just like discrimination and violent conflict, undermines and erodes economic confidence through long-standing grievances that are endless and destructive. The theme for the year confirms that peace can only enhance sustained and long-term social cohesion, tolerance and mutual respect within communities. This can be achieved through concerted efforts by the government, business, civic society and community-based organisations like PYCD. PYCD has signature projects involving key stakeholders like the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) and Green Fuel Pvt Ltd, among others, to localise sustainable peace within our communities. PYCD has intervened in the various land and boundary conflicts scattered in over 20 wards of Chipinge district. These land and boundary conflicts escalated into uncontrollable violence that left houses torched, families divided, divorces increasing and livelihood opportunities declining. Through the involvement of the NPRC and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, the conflict is now manageable. PYCD has since mediated the violent conflict involving local communities in Chipinge with Green Fuel Pvt Ltd. Local farmers in Chisumbanje and Chinyamukwakwa were arbitrarily arrested, beaten, and jailed in the absence of a platform for dialogue.
After a six-week training through a project titled “Revolutionaries and Revolutionaries, in Pursuit of dialogue”, the violence subsided. Although some of the localised community structures are still resisted by the company, these community actors have supported local peacebuilding efforts today. PYCD has also successfully intervened to calm down aggression and sexual violence that were historically and culturally justified in the local communities. Through one of our projects on “Providing Safe spaces for girls and Young women”, the work of PYCD has helped to offer counselling while promoting co-existence between men and women. The plight of girls and young women was heavily compromised during the COVID – 19 pandemic, ravaging livelihoods, families and power relations within communities. PYCD noted a gendered impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic on girls and young women, which in turn manifested into violent crime. In the current work of PYCD, we have observed that political violence linked to elections is escalating and therefore calling for intervention by ensuring that responsible bodies like the Zimbabwe Election Commission to engage productively to insulate 2023 from becoming a violent election. Violence linked to the election has remained a big worry for Zimbabwe since 2000. PYCD calls for the responsible involvement of young people in peace at all levels to create a massive awareness of the roles they can play as citizens other than being abused by political parties as perpetrators of violence. Inserted by the PYCD Information Department For more information contact: [email protected] +263 773 010 331/+263 778 656 638