Friday, October 09, 2009

(HERALD) Children’s Parliament opens

Children’s Parliament opens
Herald Reporter

The Zimbabwe Youth Council yesterday opened its annual Children’s Parliamentary Session in Harare which will run until Saturday, culminating in a national youth debate.

The debate, to be held under the theme "Zimbabwe fit for children and youth: A call for Accelerated Action towards their survival and empowerment", will give young people an opportunity to discuss issues affecting their lives such as education, skills and professional training, health delivery, national healing, constitution-making and employment creation.

In a statement yesterday, ZYC communications officer Mr Tanzikwa Guranungo said the debate would increase awareness on children’s rights and raise concern on pertinent issues and challenges that affect minors. He said President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Cabinet Ministers, Government officials, media, students, and child and youth-oriented organisations had been invited to the debate.

"The session will also seek practical input for effective programming and implementation by policy-makers and communities as well as improve interacting and information sharing among children of various backgrounds ranging from ordinary, vulnerable and the disadvantaged.

"It will also enable children and young people to interact with people holding contextual leadership positions in the country," he said.

Mr Guranungo said Child Parliamentarians had been selected on the basis of speech competency through public speaking competitions held at constituency level.

"Apart from being able to articulate well on the theme, candidates are also expected to have an appreciation of child and youth development issues," he said.

The Child President is from Matabeleland North Province with the two Vice Presidents coming from Masvingo and Mashonaland West provinces.

The Child Prime Minister is from Manicaland while the two deputies are from Matabeleland South and Mashonaland East provinces.

The Child President of the Senate is from Midlands while the Speaker post is held by Harare.

The Children’s Parliament Programme arose from the Day of the African Child whose roots can be traced to the June 16, 1976 Soweto massacre when hundreds of South African pupils were butchered by the apartheid regime while protesting the introduction of Afrikaans as a compulsory school subject.

In Zimbabwe, the concept of a Children’s Parliament was adopted principally to provide a platform for children to raise their views, concerns and aspirations on issues that affect them and the nation in general.

The first session of the Children’s Parliament was held in 1991 and over the years, the institution has been transformed from being a ceremonial one into a fully-fledged programme that operates throughout the year.



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