Community Development

Youth Organising and Leadership (YOL) model brings positive developmental outcomes

By Byron Mutingwende

The Youth Organising and Leadership (YOL) model being spearheaded by ActionAid is bringing about positive outcomes among communities in Zimbabwe.

Helene Bach, the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator of ActionAid Denmark, speaking at the workshop in Harare, said the YOL model seeks to pilot and test a broader geographical imprint and network, for a more cost-effective investment, where activity funding is more focused on ensuring the ability to react to moments of opportunity created by youth, rather than long term programming that seeks to invest in and control all elements of the institution’s theory of change.

“The reasons behind introducing the YOL model were to decrease funding as a push factor; to test how to create changes with small-scale flexible funding by having a key focus on the political context, emerging campaigns and boundary partners.

“It’s also to experiment with new ways of working looking beyond the traditional funding models by introducing a more flexible model focused at capacity building and small-scale funding to strengthen existing and emerging youth initiatives as well as focusing on changing the behaviour of boundary partners in a way that will lead to the envisaged outcomes and impact but without funding all elements in the theory of change. We also seek to pilot and test a broader geographical imprint and network and look for a more cost-effective investment model,” Bach said.

Karen Ansbæk, the Senior Programme Manager of ActionAid Denmark gave the opportunity to participating youths to review and harness the outcomes through the outcome harvesting approach. The key results are outlined below:

Chi-tonga language

Gayson Siampongo the Project Officer of Basilwizi Trust in Binga said in 2014 some Teachers’ Colleges e.g. Gwanda Teachers’ College, United College of Education, & Mkoba Teachers’ College introduced ChiTonga language in their college syllabus. From 2017 to date we saw the recruitment of first students in Indigenous languages ChiTonga especially at University level. E.g. University of Zimbabwe, Lupane state University, Midlands State University and Great Zimbabwe University.

This was after continued engagement with the colleges and universities. We got financial support from ActionAid and other funding partners.

Increased public service – health

Obert Mhlanga, Project Officer of Simukai Child Protection Programme in Mutare said in 2017, community members of Mapako Ward 18 Nyanga District commenced the construction of their ward health centre, which is currently at the verge of completion using plough back from the local authority and community contribution.

Initially, there was low turnout of payment of development levy or taxes from the households to Nyanga Rural District Council. With support from ActionAid in partnership with Simukai, we engaged the local authority to have dialogue meetings on social accountability, budget consultations and community-based planning processes, which enhanced the knowledge on the aspects of payment of development levies to local authorities and its contribution to the community.

During community-based planning processes with Nyanga Rural District Council, the community prioritised to construct their local health clinic so as to address issues to do with gender-responsive public services since women and children were travelling at least 10km to access health services in the neighbouring wards.

The community was capacitated on the processes of collecting their plough back from local authorities for development. With the knowledge, they collect accumulated plough-back funds from the past years and there was an increase in payment of development levy from the community.

They then started construction of the local clinic with contribution from the plough-back, community contributions (labour, committed funds).

Corporate social responsibility from local businesses and politicians like Supa Mandiwanzira, the Member of the National Assembly for Nyanga South Constituency also contributed to the construction of the clinic, which is expected to be fully functional by December 2018.

Increased solidarity among youth activists

In 2018 there was increased participation of young people in national processes and partnerships among youth collectives as Activista Zimbabwe members combined efforts in different national and CSO driven activities such as the Citizen’s Manifesto, the Budja Festival, the Young Leaders’ Directory, the Leave no Youth Behind Campaign, the Watchdog as well as different activities to increase participation of young people in the 2018 elections.

Tafadzwa Muropa, the Coordinator of Citizens Manifesto facilitated the participation of young people from different provinces at the national citizens convention held on 20 July 2018 in Harare.

The youths actively took part in the democracy and governance cluster meetings where they shared their aspirations on the ideal leadership that young people should vote for in the harmonized elections.

Their contributions were consolidated in the final outcome document that was shared with the Elders.

Strengthened citizens agency in electoral process

In July 2018, there was an increase in citizens (youth and women) who participated (voter registration, voter’s roll inspection, electoral candidature and observation) in the 2018 harmonised elections.

Citizens Manifesto trained selected youth volunteers on election observation. Their task was to document the electoral processes including incidences of political violence through social media. The Citizens Manifesto encouraged citizens to use social media.

The posting of V11 forms by the volunteers and the public was a cause for concern to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission since the shared ones were not corroborating with official figures. The citizens’ security was threatened.

ACDEG in social media

In 2018, Activista members used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to popularize / share information about ACDEG.

Establishing of Activista

From 2016 – 2018, Activista Zimbabwe was established and turned into a recognised structure for youth activism engaging in collective actions such as door-to-door campaign for voter registration of young people throughout Zimbabwe and launching Citizen Manifesto.

Media coverage of ACDEG

In 2018, online platforms and state-owned media published articles on ACDEG (on online platforms like Spiked available on and state-owned vernacular newspapers like Kwayedza). There was also radio programmes on CapitalkFM’s Deep Dive. Other stories appeared in the Chronicle.

Activista member elected as councillor

In July 2018, the Activista national treasurer was elected as councilor in Chitungwiza.

Door-to-door campaign

In July 2018, a group of volunteers conducted a door-to-door campaign visiting 3,300 houses in Harare to make people go and vote.

Young people contesting in election

In July 2018, 24 young people (7 female and 17 male) from Activista contested as candidates in the election. (4 from rural areas and 20 from urban areas).

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende