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On World Population Day UNFPA, Government of Zimbabwe open clinic and youth centre

President Mnangagwa

On World Population Day the Government of Zimbabwe and partners today officially opened Tariro Clinic and Youth Centre in the Hopley area. The facilities were constructed by City of Harare through a skills development project for young people that was supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and private cement manufacturing company, LaFARGE. The project is part of the United Nations Joint Program on Adolescent and Youth Development.

Hopley is a peri-urban district located on the outskirts of Harare with a population of approximately 200 000, out of which about 65 000 are between 10-24 years.  It is characterized by high levels of migration, poor infrastructure, weak social services, low education, high unemployment and informality.  In addition, concerns including child marriage and teenage pregnancies are high on the list of problems. These challenges result in slow development in the area especially among young people. The skills development project, construction of the clinic and the youth centre sought to help respond to some of these challenges.

A total of 100 young people were part of the skills development project. They were trained in various construction industry skills such as electrical work, plumbing, bricklaying, and cobblestone technology. The young people were engaged as apprentices to build the clinic, the youth center and the demonstration road as way of giving them experience necessary to increase their chances of employment in the future. Of the total number of people trained, at least 56% were young women. Beyond the livelihoods skills, the young people also received training on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights to equip them with information to live healthier lives. After the construction of the clinic and youth centre a number of the young people have been able to get secure contracts related to their selected trades.

Officially opening the clinic and youth centre in Hopley today, His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Government of Zimbabwe is committed to bettering the lives of women and young people. These facilities are expected to serve as a community facility that will provide all services including youth friendly health services and sexual reproductive health and rights information. It also creates a safe space for young people to meet for various development programmes at the youth centre. The President said his government wants to improve women’s lives and Zimbabwe’s prospects for prosperity

“As we launch and commemorate World Population Day today, my Government would like to renew its commitment to the International Conference on Population and Development agenda. We support initiatives that improve the quality of life of Zimbabweans, including those seeking to promote universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights towards ending maternal deaths, Gender Based Violence, HIV infections and promoting the availability and use of family planning.”

United Nations, Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli said in celebrating World Population Day whose theme is, 25 years of the International Conference on Population and Development: accelerating the promise; it is a reminder to UN and its implementing partners of the commitments made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994.

“Zimbabwe has made great strides in meeting its ICPD commitments, including, improved access to contraceptives, reduction of maternal and infant mortality, improved access to education and health amongst other things. The launch of this clinic and youth centre is a good example of progress being made by Zimbabwe,” Parajuli said.

The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) articulated a bold new vision about the relationships between population, development and individual well-being. At the ICPD in Cairo, 179 countries adopted a forward-looking, 20-year Programme of Action (extended in 2010) that continues to serve as a comprehensive guide to people-centred development progress.

“Sweden is a strong advocate for universal access to SRHR. With our support we wish to encourage young Zimbabweans to live healthy and productive lives. We hope that the activities at this clinic will result in reducing unwanted pregnancies, combating forced and early marriages, incidences of HIV and help preventing school dropouts”, said Martin Jörnrud, Chargè d’affaires, Embassy of Sweden. “We are impressed and inspired by the young people, and especially young women, from the area who have been able to develop their personal skills and improve their competitiveness for future employment as a result from this project.”

World Population Day is celebrated every year on 11 July since 1989 when the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme recommended that the day be observed by the international community, as a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende