By Byron Mutingwende
The Junior Chamber International Zimbabwe (JCI) is spearheading youth empowerment projects in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This emerged at the 2018 official opening of the organisation’s Harare chapter that was officiated by Prisca Mupfumira, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality on 24 January 2018.
“I am indeed honoured to be guest speaker at this prestigious opening night of the Junior Chamber International, Harare. JCI is a worldwide network of young energetic citizens aged 18-40 years. JCI Harare has since 2015, embarked on a number of projects including Children’s public speaking competitions, tree planting and girl child empowerment. Some of the projects have been directly related to girl child empowerment realising the dilemma of girl children in Africa as a whole. Government highly commends players like JCI who are contributing towards the success of Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals,” Mupfumira said.
The world has 1.2 billion young children who must be bolstered by robust policies, sustainable and innovative solutions mankind’s dynamic socio-economic challenges. The minister implored the JCI Harare to harness the current national challenges and turn them into opportunities for younger generations who are mostly rural based.
Amongst the JCI Harare’s 2018 targets is a project to build classroom blocks at a rural school in Binga. The school currently has grass thatched sheds for classrooms and the teachers have no accommodation yet education is the backbone to the development of any nation.
“Education is a conduit and must not be regarded as an end in itself. As youths, l urge you to search and discover your passion before choosing a profession. Passion, and not just qualifications, must be the main driver. Entrepreneurship is the way to go if we are to build a nation of thinkers and creators. As the Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Industry, I am happy to note that over and above the great community work JCIs take time to travel locally and internationally. I am made to understand that JCI Harare will be Hosting JCI Zimbabwe Mid-Year Conference in Binga which gives JCIs an opportunity to relax and recharge whilst promoting domestic tourism.”
During that week JCI Zimbabwe hosted the JCI World President and National Presidents from Africa and the Middle East in Harare. That was a milestone achievement that put Zimbabwe on the map. Such initiatives help the young people to know their country and expose them to trends in the world which will help the country grow and be strong as an economy.
The minister said technology had become an integral component of life and urged youths to seize the positives of technology.
“I therefore implore all youths to embrace technology with the highest degree of intelligence and wit, such that technology does not expose our folly as humanity. The transforming world of technology calls for youths that are resilient and agile enough not to bow down to the pressures around them which include being ‘technology-slaves’,” mupfumira said.
The JCI founding principles affirm that faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life and that the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations. Further it is affirmed that Economic justice, can best be won by free man, through free enterprise. Indeed that earth’s great treasure lies in human personality. Lastly, service to humanity is the best work of life. It is these principles that must inspire all the initiatives of junior chambers around the world.
Hopewell Munyari, the Local President for JCI Harare said the capital city is known for its rich expertise and experience having churned out leaders who continue to make significant impact in the communities, the region and globally.
“It is through this legacy that we continue to thrive in creating impact and contributing to the sustainable development goals wherever our members are.
We carry the same fervent belief that Service to Humanity is the best work of life and moreso that whatever we want to achieve can be done when people, communities, stakeholders come together for one common cause and address it sustainably, hence we pride ourselves as an organisation that unites all sectors of society, Munyari said.
In 2017, Harare ran with theme ‘Together we effect the Impact’ under the leadership of Mr Gift Maseko.
“This year we want to go a step further and ensure that whatever we do engages people to create positive change. Many a time we find ourselves talking about critical issues in our societies but nothing comes out of it, hence this year we are pushing the theme – More ACTION Less Talk. This theme speaks to people who are game changers, who do not remain idle but utilise their social capital to create positive change. It resonates with individuals who are ready to Connect, Engage, Invest, Collaborate and create lasting Impact in their communities. Let me quote and say this, “ There are only two options, its either you make progress or you make excuses.” You either continue talking or you do something about it,” he said.
This year, JCI Harare seeks to impact communities through well planned projects. These include the Girl Empowerment Project which seeks to create more opportunities for the girl child to be improved by accessing high quality education.
The Future Leaders Zalo Primary School Project aims at constructing classroom blocks for school kids in Binga. The Anti litter and Environment Awareness Campaigns in Harare are aimed at contributing to the drive by the City of Harare of having a world class city by 2025. There will be French Lessons for non French speaking people. The Mid Year Recharge Conference will be held in Binga as part of boosting Local Tourism.
Munyari thanked JCI partners namely NBSZ, Higherlife Foundation, Telone, and new partners that are coming on board – Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, Young African Leaders Initiative, Zimbabwe Business and Arts Hub, Zimbabwe Musicians Union, Batanai 2 Create, Sungano Gardens and Décor and the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry for their support.