By Nyasha Nhau
The founder and director of a Mabvuku community based peace building initiative who is a pro-development activist Tonderai Dombo said his organization Youths in Peace Building Initiative Trust (YiPIT) is planning to train a number of youths by end of year who will be the ambassadors for peace in the community.
He said this when the country is preparing to hold elections in 2023 while most young people usually used as political instruments during this time and is the reason why he founded the organization as a wakeup call for young people across Africa to desist from.
“The organization was born in 2019 out of my experiences as a student activist in which I was the Students Representative Committee president at the University of Zimbabwe (2015-2016), took part in many demonstrations and facing persecution for my struggles.
“I took time to reflect on the political and economic situation not only in Zimbabwe but in the continent and saw a disturbing similarity to think if youths could play a different role than being pawns in an endless cycle that has confined our people to a life of poverty and reduced our continent to a dumpling site for the world.”
“It seems like we are in a cycle of unending political strife with only personalities changing but the culture becoming more rooted hence the idea of a platform where youths can discuss, honestly interrogate which role they can play, how they can build more peaceful society and we are aiming to train 5000 youths by year end through our peace workshops,” Dombo explained to NTU News Zimbabwe.
Aiming at building a culture of dialogue, promote its use as a viable way of solving conflicts as the main goal, YiPIT believe it can create room for good ideas to flourish. Dombo added, “The more dialogue is taking place in communities the better the quality of decisions made and use of available resources for their development. We want to give a voice to mostly young people in matters that affect their future through dialogue as an option in solving disputes at both personal and societal interactions.”
“Removing violence from our politics is by empowering youths with knowledge on how to conduct dialogue and the benefits of peaceful societies.”
Fully started operating after the outbreak of covid-19, the youth led organization has not stopped from conducting programs but reduced the scope, it has managed to conduct dialogue training workshops in several secondary schools across the country with students in their final years as well as with youth church groups in Mutare Manicaland province among other initiatives and planning to include youths in sports for more programs once restrictions are relaxed.
“We had so far bring together upcoming artists for a Peace Arts Festival in Harare, a pilot for a bigger project that is planned for December this year and we are in the process of conducting a nationwide survey beginning with Manicaland in the levels of peace dialogue knowledge amongst the population.”
“We shall present this to the ministry of education so that peace can be made an essential part of the studies.”
Youths in Peace Building Initiative Trust once partnered Cartoon Film Makers to raise awareness during the 16 days of activism against gender based violence last year, in October this year the organization is planning to resort to an online and physical conferences.
The father of one Tonderai Dombo did most of his basic education in high density surburb of Mabvuku before went to the UZ where he did Barchelors degre in Arts and a Special honour in War and Strategic Studies then took a Masterson in Peace and Conflict Transformation at The Arctic University of Norway.
“To my fellow Zimbabweans l say be more concerned about our country and seek ways in which we can use whatever skills we have to improve our communities; we have all the material resources needed to build prosperous communities but work has to be done to ensure that this happens.
“And to my fellow young people I say drugs are not the solution but part of the problem lets sober up and chant our own course.”