HARARE – 17 APRIL 2023: 4-H Zimbabwe Foundation has been awarded a Regional Peace Award from the African Union in recognition of the efforts in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding measures towards making a positive and transformative difference in Zimbabwe.
The Women Peace and Security (WPS) and Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agendas in Africa have evolved with palpable results including a substantial increase in the quantum and quality of women and youth participation in peace and security issues. While some of these have been occasioned by developing and implementing programme-specific normative frameworks to drive both agendas, a critical component has been the dedicated participation of women and youth in peace and security efforts at all levels including at the local, national, regional and continental levels through their desires and efforts to promote a safe and secure Africa.
Briefly, the importance of the WPS and YPS agendas have been captured in both UN and AU normative instruments. With regards to WPS, the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 (2000) reaffirms “the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution”. Building on the UNSCR 1325, the African Charter on Human and people’s Right on the Rights of Women in Africa of 2003 and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa of 2004 call for the presence of women in conflict prevention and peace building activities in order to reverse their marginalization and abuse of human rights. The essence of youth participation in peace and security first enunciated in the African Youth Charter (2006) gained global popularity with the UNSCR 2250 (2015). There have been subsequent UN resolutions including UNSCR 2419 (2018) and 2535 (2021) as well as the AU Continental Framework on Youth, Peace and Security and several PSC Communiqués on YPS that have contributed to the recognition and promotion of YPS.
It is against this background that the Gender Peace and Security Programme as well as the Youth for Peace (Africa) Program (Y4P) of the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department is launching an awards initiative in recognition of and support for the important role civil society plays in implementing the WPS and YPS agenda. This is line with the African Union’s commitment to “leaving no one behind,” as part of its aspiration to build a people-centred community and deliver the 2063 Agenda for shared prosperity and well-being, for unity and integration, for a continent of free citizens and expanded horizons, where the full potential of women and youth are realized, and with freedom from fear, disease and want.
This African Union Award is in recognition of 4-H Zimbabwe novel innovations, milestones and non-violent interventions in the Peace, Governance and Food Security thematic areas in Zimbabwe. The Youth4Peace project by 4-H Zimbabwe has broken ground in bringing seven opposed political parties together through sport and interparty dialogues. The organisation is using sport to promote peace, tolerance, and social cohesion among youths from different political and social affiliates in Zimbabwe. The organisation further establishment district Peace Hubs wherein youths from the political parties interact and share information. The impact of 4- H Zimbabwe Foundation reached out to around 800 000 young people in Zimbabwe. There has been a significant increase in levels of political tolerance and reduction of politically motivated violence in this pre-election period as the youths are interfacing and interacting owing to interventions which has been done by 4-H Zimbabwe. The organisation have also capacitated over 2000 rural young women on indigenous conservative farming methods building resilience on climate change. In addition, the organisation has facilitated drilling of 8 solar powered boreholes enhancing provision of adequate clean water for the Hurungwe community and established 8 nutrition gardens which benefited 400 women in the same community.
The AU award is highly valued by 4- H Zimbabwe, its partners and key stakeholders. Special thanks to our partners : Embassy of Switzerland in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Crossing Borders, CISU, Sporten Commun and Peace and Sport, the Stakeholders are: seven (7) political in the project namely; FEEZ, LEAD, ZANU-PF, CCC, MDC, ZEFF, NCA, Traditional chiefs, Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and entire Zimbabwe. The recognition comes at the background of another International Award won by 4-H Zimbabwe in 2022 in Monaco from Peace and Sport International organisation for using sport as a tool to achieve development goals and create a culture of peace, through the transmission of specific values, attitudes and behaviors. In addition, the organisation also scooped local award in recognition of its outstanding contribution to Peace and Sustainable Development in Zimbabwe from The Diplomat Magazine.