The Problem
Since 2000, Zimbabwe’s elections have been marred by hate speech and violence, notably in Harare Province, where major parties like ZANU-PF and CCC are based. The aftermath of the 2018 elections saw fatal violence in Harare, reflecting the vulnerability of unemployed youth to political manipulation. Although the 2023 elections were relatively peaceful, disputes over irregularities persist. Post-election violence highlights the need for ongoing youth peace initiatives and further engagement in this volatile region. Youth marginalization within political structures and government exacerbates the problem, with token representation insufficient to address their needs. Limited knowledge and leadership skills leave youth vulnerable to violence and exclusion from national development. 

The Impact

  • Through dialogue and joint activities such as sport4peace tournaments, the project facilitated unprecedented cooperation among 11 political parties. This collaboration resulted in the signing of the groundbreaking Youth Peace Pledge and the Zimbabwe Youth in Politics Charter on Peace in Electoral Processes which created a youth engagement platform – YCPD.
  • The project successfully brought together rival student unions (ZICOSU and ZINASU) through the National Students Council (NSC) to increase awareness and understanding of democratic values, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding strategies among students. This engagement has contributed to a more peaceful and tolerant environment within university campuses and beyond.
  • Five local councilors and four members of parliament who had participated in the conflict resolution sessions won their contests in the 2023 elections
  • The project’s interventions have been acknowledged internationally, regionally, and locally, with awards from organizations such as Peace and Sport International, the African Union Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department, and Diplomat Magazine

The Future
The project’s next steps involve conducting capacity-building programs for the Youth in Politics Council for Peace and Development (YCPD) at national and provincial levels. Subsequently, 4-H Zimbabwe will utilize the Council structures to facilitate continuous youth engagement on peacebuilding, inclusion in national development, and political processes, particularly by establishing a Council for the Harare, Bulawayo Metropolitan areas and other eight (8)