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Zimbabwe, 24 September 2013: Junior Parliamentarians receive phones to boost communication with their constituencies

© UNICEF Zimbabwe/2013/Nyamanhindi
Junior Parliament Child Vice President Victor Mpala receiving mobile phones from Econet Wireless Mr. Dereck Zhanje. Looking on is Mr Livingstone Dzikira, centre, (Zimbabwe Youth Council Director) and Mr Tawanda Njerere, left, (ZYC Deputy Director)

By Richard Nyamanhindi

September 2013 - Young people’s participation in Zimbabwe has received a boost after 320 Junior Parliamentarians received mobile phones from tele-communications company Econet Wireless.

The Junior Parliamentarians will use the mobile phones to enhance communication with their constituencies and further provide an invaluable platform for communicating pertinent issues related to health and education with policymakers.    

In a speech read on his behalf by the Principal Director in the Ministry of Youth, Dr. Thokozile Chitepo, the Permanent Secretary of Youth applauded the continued support that the Junior Parliament has been receiving from Econet Wireless.

“Nurturing future leaders is a duty which should not be left to government alone. Ideally it is one that should be shared collectively by the national village which includes government, churches, the corporate world, civic organizations and the society at large and I am glad that Econet has continued to support the young in the country,’’ he said.

Child Vice President, Anthony Mpala who received the phones on behalf of the Junior Parliament said that the donation was a token to signify the seriousness that the nation is now attaching to child participation and leadership development.

Mpala noted that since the Junior Parliament started receiving mobile phones from Econet Wireless three years ago, communication between constituencies and policy makers has greatly improved.

“We are now able to communicate with our constituencies disseminating information, getting feedback and making follow-ups on other online publications and social media platforms,” said Mpala.

UNICEF Deputy Representative, Marc Rubin reiterated UNICEF’S commitment to supporting the development of children in Zimbabwe saying children are entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth by the United Nations Convention on the Rights the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and as such UNICEF will continue to work hard to ensure that the voices of children are strengthened.

The donation of the mobile phones by Econet Wireless also comes at an opportune time when UNICEF and the Zimbabwe Youth Council are finalizing the establishment of a pull and push SMS platform for young people called the “U-Report”. This programme will see young people, responding to issues and reporting issues from their constituencies using short message service on their phones.



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