KVG: Today on the show we have Nyasha Sengayi, from the Source International. She is here to discuss her experience on youth participation in the global space as a young person. Welcome Nyasha to the show.
Nyasha: Thank you KVG. It’s good to be back on the show.
KVG: Okay , Nyasha what has been your involvement in global networks for advocacy.
Nyasha : Thank you KVG, I am a campaign strategist , I design campaign s to advance women’s rights mostly. I started networking with global networks at the inception of my career when I was selected to be part of the ISIS – WICCE- ( Women’s Cross Cultural Exchange Programme) which was premised on the creation of movement building on the globe. Based on the experience that I got from the training and the motivation to send a message for peace, I decided to start Source International which employs campaigns based programming and Applied research to deliver it’s core mandate of attaining dignified futures for women.. From there, I was priviledged able to work with V Day on a Campaign dubbed One Billion Rising which was drawn from the UN Women statistic which states that one in three women will be raped or suffer from some kind of physical abuse; that translates to One Billion Women being physically abused at any given time in their life. This campaign has been running in more than 207 countries and we have been able to work on trying to show the world what a billion people look like as we dance on the streets across the world. Moreover, I was selected to the Global Youth Ambassador together with other young people from Africa and Europe by the Swedish Youth Council. My role is to deliberate on strategies on how to get young people to build and create stronger institutions through internal democracy as a way of making our activism more efficient and effective. We are also using the platform to discuss challenges pertinent to young people and to come up with strategies that will strengthen our participation in any space.
KVG: Woow , Thank you Nyasha . So how can one become part of these Global Networks?
Nyasha: There are so many opportunities for young people to participate in Global networks and they can be taken up on vertical and horizontal levels. Most importantly, young people need to be knowledgeable and nature a culture of researching on their areas of interests or the networks that can better shape what they are mostly passionate about. In wake of this, they are lot of opportunities for reputable fellowship programmes online which young people can be a part of. Adding on, Social Media has provided an opportunity for young people to expand their participation in a lot of online process. The internet has opportunities for young people to participate in Webinars, e-conferences, LinkedIn platforms and groups as well. All these offer information on diverse global movements which young people can join in. My journey to becoming Campaign strategist was mostly shaped by my online interaction particularly on Social Media. My interactions with key global women’s rights leaders such as Barbara Mhangami, Monique Wilson, Susan Swan, Colani Hlaswako and many others were pertinent in shaping and developing my career. Young People need to appreciate that Social Media is not for entertainment only. Adding on, there was a lot of support from the Zimbabwean young women’s Movement who exude a passion to send a message out on social media such as Grace Chirenje , Glanis Changachirere , Rudo Chigudu, Fungai Machirori, Nyari Mashayamombe and many more. Young Zimbabwean Women should be commended for being visible on the global networks. It has shaped the emergence of a formidable young women’s movement in Zimbabwe.
KVG: Why is it important to collaborate with likeminded organisations other than those in your country?
Nyasha: Sharing knowledge and experiences is critical for drawing strategies for transforming our communities. In that regard, it is important for young people to network and create alliances with other young people to create a unified force that is development oriented. Young people should not wait to be invited into spaces. I suggest they dive into opportunities which are presented to them and add their efforts to create their own space. Uniting our global action is also important for creating an interface for creating best practice knowledge in our advocacy work. It helps young people to interrogate what is working and what is not working. As is, young people will be better able to create new and innovative tactics and strategies for development and to also improve on existing ones. I want ot also highlight that participation in the development is not only prerogative of young people in the non –profit sector. We need young people in the corporate sector to participate more in the social development sector, which is the source of their profits anyway. That absence of unity is a huge gap in the development of Zimbabwe as a whole.
KVG: What has been the contribution of Zimbabwe to the global youth agenda?
Zimbabwe has ratified a number of charters from global multinational institutions such as the UN and African Union. It has proactively shown a commitment to ensure that it protects and makes provision for it’s youth. However there is still a lot which needs to be done in terms of pro-active implementation thereof. In terms of the effort of young people making personal commitments to the contribution, a lot of young people have been taking up the global leadership space through platforms such the YALI Programme initiated by the US President Obama. We’ve also had young people on Wall Street, in the global fashion Industry, in global makeup Market, we have young people in Hollywood, Young Zimbabweans working for the world bank. All that is Zimbabwe’s contribution to the global agenda. There is explosive contribution of young people from Zimbabwe into the global, political and economic and social space. Our challenge is that young people are apologetic in their participation thus we are not visible enough. . A lot of young people are influencing the global space but there is not much documentation being done. Adding on there is still no credible measure of young people’s participation on the globe. It should be noted that young people are not just a demographic force. We are ideas, a development force, and above all we are innovation and creativity.
KVG: When talking about creating space for young people .what immediate action need to be taken in order to achieve this?
As I have already said young people should not wait to be invited to spaces. If they are absent they can be legally created somehow. They should also make an effort to link up and take advantage of the social media to create ownership of their own ideas. Secondly, I’ve always advised my mentees that knowledge is an ideal space creator. They must pursue knowledge which in turn will influence their action and make it much more relevant. Thirdly and I think the most important , young people have been absent from the mainstream policy development space and yet it . It is ideal for young people to engage with policy makers interactively.
Their action should be premised on engaging more and less confrontation to get their way through.
KVG: As a Campaign Strategist, What message can you give to young people out there so that so that their voices can be heard.
If you want to be heard speak up and speak well. Thank KVG for this opportunity. It is my hope that young people begin to see the need to engage globally in order to influence their local action.