TB is the world’s top killer infectious disease, claiming 4,500 lives every day. The heaviest burden of disease is borne by communities already facing socio-economic challenges –migrants, refugees, prisoners, ethnic minorities, miners and others working and living in risk-prone environments(WHO: 2018).  

March is dubbed as Women’s month, with the 8th March being set aside as International Women’s Day. The UN Secretary, General António Guterres, has a clarion call for all: “On International Women’s Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment."

Ephraim Ncube (pictured) is a youth advocate who has been empowered through the Asikhulume/ Ngatitaure/ Let’s Talk programme. He shares how his life has been transformed.

 

Ephraim Ncube

“Previously, strolling the streets, involvement in political campaigns and abusing drugs was the story of my life. I did not see myself making any difference in my community. The Asikhulume programme made me realise my self-worth and that although I regarded myself as a nonentity, I had the power to impact my village, district – and the nation at large – by contributing to policymaking initiatives. This programme has empowered me as a young person and provided me with knowledge on the Constitution of Zimbabwe, particularly Chapter 2 paragraph II, which covers the declaration of human rights and freedom.

Asikhulume is a youth-led social accountability programme based on three pillars: the right to access to health; the right to education; and lastly the right to social protection. The youth champions in Change Ward, Hwange district, have come up with their own initiative to support their advocacy work for schools and hospitals to be built, as local people are walking long distances to access these services. As youth champions, they have come together to resolve these issues within their ward and built a fowl run with 26 chickens, each contributed by a youth champion.

Ignorance and death can be one and the same but today, a once-dead community in Hwange district has risen. The entry of the SAfAIDS Asikhulume programme, working through Buwalo Matalikilo Trust (BMT), has awoken the community by providing them with information on the Zimbabwe Constitution and showing them that it is their ‘Bible’ as far as their rights are concerned. Tritchard Ncube views the Zimbabwe Constitution as a vital major friend and the community’s daily bread.  

By Elizabeth Ndhlovu-Dumbreni

SAfAIDS Changing The River’s Flow for Young People (CTRF4YP) programme has been helping shape and transform young people’s lives for the better. One such case is that of Primrose Munetsi (not her real name), an adolescent who, through the intervention of the CTRF4YP youth champions, was able to quit smoking marijuana and begin to transform her life by making the most of her time.