Mcleo Mapfumo (23) from Milton Park raised the Zimbabwean flag high recently, by scooping seven awards at the World Youth Summit held in Imphal India.
The summit, which ended in early April, explored the potential of youth from across the globe to affect change in several pressing areas. According to the Summit website, a ‘youth’ is someone between the age of 18 and 29.
Mapfumo, who is the Youth President of the Zimbabwe United Nations Association (ZUNA), was one of four African participants, and the only representative from Southern Africa. He did Zimbabwe proud, walking away with two trophies and five certificates including the Global Youth Award, Best Presenter Award, Panel Speaker Award, Best Group Work Award, Speaker of the Plenary Session, Best Presenter and a delegate award.
Running under the theme “Youth for Global Empowerment”, the event had a cross-cutting focus that dealt with environmental issues such as ecotourism and biodiversity, poverty and hunger eradication, access to healthcare, social justice, cultural preservation, and much more.
Mapfumo presented on the theme of youth empowerment, urging for youth to engage around problems that affect their development and the development of nations such as drug abuse, crime, and sexual immorality – which Mapfumo says have arisen as a result of the disenfranchisement of the youth from political systems that exploit them and exclude them from decision making processes.
“We are sick and tired of the ‘give them’ syndrome that exists, and we now advocate for the ‘I can do’ approach,” explained Mapfumo, who believes that the youth should do it for themselves. He suggests that areas of youth empowerment in Zimbabwe should include eco-tourism and sustainability and biodiversity projects.
Mapfumo highlighted the work of ZUNA, and how Zimbabwean youth are handling the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He noted that much still needs doing to ensure that young people know about the initiatives underway.
Elaborating on his work for the Association, Mapfumo said: “Our mission as ZUNA is to eradicate poverty and hunger, to achieve equitable and sustained economic growth and sustainable development, to protect the environment, and to promote peaceful and inclusive societies where no one is left behind. We commit to ensure gender equality and promote and respect, protect and fulfil all human rights, including the right to development.”