UNICEF Launches Nationwide Campaign to Empower Adolescents

by Victor Adetimilehin

In a significant collaborative effort, UNICEF Zimbabwe has joined forces with the government and local stakeholders to roll out a comprehensive ‘Communication Campaign on Adolescents.’ This initiative, slated to run from October to December 2023, holds the promise of shedding light on the manifold challenges faced by adolescents while also highlighting their remarkable success stories across the nation.

The campaign’s overarching goal is to give a powerful voice to Zimbabwe’s adolescents, a demographic representing 12% of the country’s total population of 15 million. It is a critical period of growth, where investments in education, health, and overall well-being can shape them into productive citizens and leaders of the future. By providing a platform for young people to express their concerns, aspirations, and ideas, this initiative aims to create a more inclusive and equitable society that harnesses the potential of its youth for the betterment of the nation.

Jacqueline Kabambe, UNICEF Chief on HIV & AIDS and adolescent development, speaking in Harare, emphasized the pressing need for such a program. Adolescents in Zimbabwe confront a multitude of challenges, and it is paramount to address these issues proactively.

One of the most urgent concerns is teenage pregnancy, a phenomenon with wide-ranging consequences. Adolescent girls who become pregnant often drop out of school, leading to interrupted education and limited opportunities. Moreover, these pregnancies are at a higher risk of complications, posing threats to the health of both the mother and child. The campaign aims to tackle such issues head-on.

UNICEF, taking a “life-course approach” to adolescent development, recognizes that this stage of life is marked by unique risks and opportunities. By providing a platform for adolescents to share their experiences and concerns, the campaign seeks to advocate for their rights and well-being.

Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, underscored the importance of involving children and adolescents in decision-making processes. This approach not only empowers them but also fosters a more inclusive and responsive society.

The ‘Communication Campaign on Adolescents’ serves as a beacon of hope, uniting UNICEF, the government, and local stakeholders in championing the rights and aspirations of Zimbabwe’s young people. It aims to create an environment where adolescents can thrive, access education, healthcare, and social support, and ultimately become the driving force behind a brighter future for the nation.

As the campaign unfolds from October to December 2023, it invites everyone to join in the collective effort to empower adolescents, address their challenges, and celebrate their achievements. By listening to their voices and prioritizing their needs, Zimbabwe can nurture a generation of informed, resilient, and empowered individuals who will shape the nation’s destiny.

Source: [NewsdayZimbabwe]

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