Governance and participation in health

Youth in Zimbabwe Have Just Opened the Doors to Parliament
Mutizamhepo T: Kalabash Media, November 2015

Since independence, Parliament and its processes have been treated by young people as something alien to them, their needs, views and aspirations. As a result, for years the youth has had certain conceptions, some true and some false over the business that is conducted within the walls of parliament in Harare. As such, the author argues that Zimbabwean youths’ views were never put into consideration, decisions with a direct bearing on them were made without their input, simply put, the youth saw Parliament business in Zimbabwe as having nothing of interest to them and as a mere preserve for the older generation. However, all this is set to be a thing of the past. Parliament debates, bills, thrills, spills and lighter moments will soon be easily accessible in just a few clicks on a smartphone, anywhere, anytime, thanks to OpenParlyZW, an online non-partisan initiative created by a group of enthusiastic youths with the aim of bridging the gap and demystifying misconceptions existing between the youth and Parliamentarians. The group believes that to move forward the youth need to be a part of this conversation and should at least know what’s going on in the houses of power and participate in the future of the nation. OpenParlyZW will run as a standalone platform but also on Twitter and Facebook among other social media platforms capturing events each time Parliament sits and providing young people with vital information.

Youth participation in development: A guide for development agencies and policy makers
Students Partnership Worldwide and DFID–CSO Youth Working Group: March 2010

This guide explores a number of different themes related to youth participation in development: governance, voice and accountability, post-conflict transition and livelihoods, and sexual and reproductive health. In the sexual and reproductive health section, several examples of youth-focused health initiatives from Uganda are discussed, such as Uganda's National Development Plan and the Youth Empowerment Programme. Another health initiative, Young, Empowered and Healthy (Yeah) is a sexual health campaign for and by young people in Uganda was launched in 2004 under the auspices of the Uganda AIDS Commission and uses radio and other media to reach youth.

Youth Voices at the 13th Southern African Civil Society Forum
Mahlangu S; Dick S; Chizungu R; Mwanza E: Youth@SAIIA, August 2017

Each year, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) holds a special Southern Africa Civil Society Forum. The 13th annual Forum took place in mid August in Johannesburg. Members of the SAIIA Youth Policy Committee and alumni of the SAIIA Young Leaders Conference were there, to provide an eye-witness account of the proceedings. Civil society is defined as a ‘community of citizens linked by common interests and collective activity.’ This was evident at the 13th SADC Civil Society Forum from day one.
The Forum serves as a platform for civil society organisations from all over the region to meet and consolidate their stance, which is then presented as a declaration to the SADC secretariat. The theme for this year’s forum was ‘Building People’s Organisations, Securing Our Common Future, Consolidating Our Gains and Confronting Our Challenges’. These four blogs present the voice and reflections of young people attending various sessions at the Forum.


This paper focuses on the socio-cultural context in which the enactment of 'high risk' youth sexual activity takes place. The author maintains that understanding youth sexual culture and the context of high-risk sexual activity will provide the basis upon which programmes aimed at promoting safer sex practices are designed. It is concluded that the future may quite literally depend on the extent to which the current culture/context in which young people are developing their ideas about sex, and enacting their sexuality, can be transformed.

Zimbabwe CSOs against Europe's unfair trade deals
Eppmwengo, 19 April 2007

Members of civil society organizations in Zimbabwe have expressed concern that the on going negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) are complex without clear outcomes and are between two unequal parties. they have outlined in a position paper areas of concern relating to trade imbalances, agriculture, health service liberalisation and intellectual property rights. the organisations thus call for EU member states to listen to and act upon the concerns of ACP countries, and for African governments to put the needs of the people above those of the markets.

Further details: /newsletter/id/32225
Zimbabwe: Global Campaign to End Catholic Bishops' Ban on Condoms Launched

The first global campaign to end the Catholic bishops' ban on condoms has been launched in Zimbabwe with a billboard in Harare and ad in The Herald carrying the message "Banning Condoms Kills" and "Catholic People Care-Do Our Bishops?" The prominently placed advertisements are part of an unprecedented worldwide public education effort aimed at Catholics and non-Catholics alike to raise public awareness about the devastating effect of the Catholic bishops' ban on condoms in preventing new HIV/AIDS infections. The campaign is being sponsored by Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC).

Zinduka is a call to East Africans to wake up
Odhiambo T: Pambazuka News, 702, 11 November 2014

The word ‘Zinduka’ means re-awaken or stir up in Kiswahili – more or less like ‘pambazuka’. In Kirundi it simply means wake up. It is a call to prepare to work; to do something for the day. The Zinduka Festival that was held in Arusha, Tanzania, between 6 and 8 November was a call on ordinary East Africans to wake up, to be alert about the slow pace by politicians in integrating the region. Zinduka – sponsored by the akibaUhaki and other regional partners and hosted at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium – was meant to celebrate the common people’s efforts and intensify those efforts to bring the different communities together. The theme was: People’s Voices, Sustainable Development, through Arts, Culture and Conversations. The author argues that Kiswahili can be a key driver of regional integration but that it will need massive efforts to systemize or standardize this lingua franca; integrate it in businesses, schools, offices and in their spiritual and personal life.

‘Civil society needs to be vigilant’: interview with Elizabeth Thompson, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Coordinator, Rio+20
CIVICUS: February 2012

In this interview the Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Coordinator for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development discusses issues related to the upcoming conference to be held in Rio de Jainero, Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 (Rio+). She identifies major sustainability challenges facing the world including economic sustainability, indicating that the global financial and economic system should not be characterised by boom and bust cycles, global, regional and local inequities, poor accountability and decreased civil society engagement, and the continuation of poverty, particularly among women and girls. She reported feeling positive about the potential for Rio+ to provide a platform for countries to evaluate environmental problems and craft solutions tailor-made for different countries. She argued that civil society’s role is invaluable in working at every level of society and educating companies and communities on the importance of sustainable development. Civil society needs to play a role in helping to develop new initiatives which will deliver on sustainability and most of all, civil society needs to be vigilant in ensuring that countries commit to sustainability and continue along the pathway they have defined to achieve it.

‘Health for all' must be people- and community-centred
Carasso B and Balabanova D: The Broker, 6 May 2009

How can the recent change in global health policy to provide ‘health for all’ be translated into action, in order to achieve some real and sustained impact on the ground and successfully reduce inequities in health? The authors have three suggestions. Ask what is needed: the answers to what is really needed cannot be found in Geneva or Washington, but ultimately lie with the people and communities themselves. Put the money where the needs are: if we know what people are suffering from and match available human and financial resources accordingly, even a little money can go a long way. Work together: initiatives like the recently launched International Health Partnership aim to strengthen health systems and to ensure that resources invested are spent in equitable and sustainable manner. This represents a shift from vertical, disease-specific models of funding, to horizontal system-building according to long-term strategies.

“by seeing with our own eyes, it can remain in our mind.”: Evidence of participatory video's ability to reduce gender-based violence in conflict-affected settings
Gurman T, Trappler R, Acosta A, Cooper C, Goodsmith L: 141st APHA Annual Meeting, November 2013

Although gender-based violence (GBV) exists worldwide, it is especially pervasive and challenging in conflict-affected settings. The breakdown of the family unit, high population density, and lack of community safeguards pose obstacles to implementation of GBV prevention programs. Unfortunately, little evidence exists regarding effective GBV prevention interventions in these settings. Through Our Eyes (TOE), a multi-year participatory video project, addressed GBV by stimulating community dialogue and action in humanitarian settings in South Sudan, Uganda, Thailand, Liberia and Rwanda. The authors used evidence from transcripts from focus group discussions and key informant interviews with individuals who created the videos to those who attended video screenings. Data was analysed using a Grounded Theory approach. The assessment found that TOE contributed to a growing awareness of women's rights and gender equity. Furthermore, both men and women reported attitudinal and behavioural changes related to topics such as intimate partner violence. The fostered community dialogue helped de-stigmatize GBV and encourage survivors to access services. Participatory video is argued to have the ability to tailor messages to specific community needs, engage men as key players, foster community dialogue, and initiate social change related to GBV in a variety of conflict-affected settings. The authors argue that public health professionals should employ participatory video as an innovative technique to address GBV and promote positive gender norms within conflict-affected and other humanitarian settings.