As political parties and candidates step up their election campaigns to canvas votes, this week Zambian Women and Youth Movements launched and presented their respective Women and Youth Manifestos to the Presidential Candidates. The women and youth manifestos reflect the collective voice of Zambia’s women and youth, the manifestos are therefore truly the Zambian People’s Manifestos.
These manifestos outline a clear development agenda and the pressing needs and priorities from the point of view of Zambian women and youth. Those seeking political leadership, particularly as the country heads towards the 2021 general elections, need to respond to and address the needs identified in the manifestos. Women and youth are collectively standing up and making their voices heard, through the manifestos’ call to action and pleas, which cannot be ignored. Furthermore, the voices reflected in the manifestos come from sections of society that tend to be excluded from decision-making processes, despite making up the majority of Zambia’s population.
The manifestos are the result of a consultative process, involving a cross-section of women and youth represented by groups and organizations at national and provincial levels. The participants who contributed to the manifestos represented different sectors including; political parties, civil society, public institutions, private sector, and tertiary education. In addition, the aspirations of young people and women with disabilities were also integrated.
By presenting these Manifestos to the Presidential Candidates, the Zambian Women and Youth are seeking solidarity from and a demonstration of commitment by these candidates by way of having them (the Candidates) sign these Manifestos. The signing ceremony was witnessed by a representation of Women and Youth Groups that have been pivotal to this initiative.
The signing of these manifestos, by the presidential candidates, must also be seen as a re-affirmation of what their respective political parties already committed to. Previously, during the consultative process, the preliminary findings of the women and youth’s contributions were presented to the relevant organs of the respective political parties when they (political parties) were also developing their election manifestos. It was pleasing to note the readiness and willingness of these political parties to integrate the issues coming from the consultations into the manifestos.
The Zambian Women and Youth look forward to their collective voices, contained in these manifestos be heard, and the issues addressed. Following the general elections, the Women and Youth Manifestos will serve as tools for social accountability and continued strategic engagement as the commitments made by the candidates will be systematically tracked. The women and youth manifestos have been facilitated and supported by Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) in collaboration with the Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) and the Centre for Young Leaders in Africa (CYLA) within the framework of the USAID funded Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue (SAPP&D) Programme . The Young Women in Action (YWA), an organisation also working with political parties in Zambia was instrumental in providing a platform to engage some political parties that DWF is not working with. The initiative has also been made successful with active participation and commitment of a wide range of women and youth groups/organisations as well as political parties. These manifestos can be accessed on the following links: DWF, CYLA, ZNWL, and YWA.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank these Candidates for their willingness to carry the Women and Youth Agendas as they seek public office!
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Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) is a southern African non-profit organisation focused on democracy development in the region. With headquarters in South Africa, DWF works through its country offices to provide tools to develop resilient democracies. DWF is legally registered in Zambia as a non-profit organization.
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