Working Document on the Zimbabwe National Youth Manifesto _______________________________________ 1.1 INTRODUCTION Youths 1 in Zimbabwe have for long been the vanguard of national processes and progress. Leaders, think tanks and the economically active portion of the population have largely been drawn from the youth demographic group. Young people across the globe, and especially in the developing world have concurrently been marginalized, and given little or no space to ensure that government and other stakeholders are responsive to issues that affect them. There are a complex combination of factors surrounding youth marginalization in national processes and youth related policies and due to these factors, youth continue to be ostracized, and excluded from decision making on decisions that ultimately affect them. The Government of Zimbabwe in 2013 launched the revised National Youth Policy, ‘as a framework to provide common aspirations and priorities for youth development across Zimbabwe.’ The policy document identifies 12 priority issues 2 that government believes, if addressed, are a panacea to solving the myriad of problems confronting the young people of Zimbabwe. It is therefore the duty of every citizen, and particularly the young people, to ensure that the government lives up to its statement of intent as laid down in the policy. It is also more critical that young people as a collective demographic group are able to ensure that government is aware and alive to their most pertinent issues. 1 http://www.youthpolicy.org/factsheets/country/zimbabwe/ The 2013 national youth policy defines youth as persons between 15 and 35 years of age. This age range is stipulated in the new Constitution and is also in line with the continental definition of youth as defined in the African Youth Charter. 2 The 12 strategic priority issues for intervention according to the policy are: education and skills development; youth empowerment and participation; youth employment and sustainable livelihoods; youth health; gender equity and equality; national youth service; cutlture, arts, sports and recreation; information and communication technology; youth and protection of the environment; youth migration; data and research and youth coordination and mainstreaming.