As part of a wider EU delegation mission to Matabeleland from the 30th of January to the 3rd of February 2012, the Restless Development youth resource centre in Plumtree, Zimbabwe hosted a visit from members of the European Union. The visit was an exciting opportunity for the team in Plumtree to showcase their EU- supported Youth Empowerment Programme, after successfully hosting previous EU visits to Hwedza and Chimanimani in August 2011.
The youth resource centre is located in a central, commercial area and has a large and impressive display of information and resources for teenage visitors. During the visit there was an education session attended by around 20 young people, mostly male school leavers, which focused on sexually transmitted infections and was facilitated by Shylet Moyo, the Plumtree field officer. In an informal, relaxed atmosphere the group discussed STI prevention and treatment and also debated the use of medicinal drinks bought from local traditional leaders.
Delegates from the EU commented that ‘the knowledge around HIV and AIDs is clearly visible amongst the young people and one group has recorded a lively music CD to promote the issue’. A very well informed legal student volunteer, Thuto Mavula was helping to deliver the information sessions, and he will soon be joined by more trained volunteers who will organise outreach activities for in-school young people, especially young women.
The EU delegates were impressed by the work and observed that the approach to spreading vital knowledge and engendering community support is highly cost effective and well managed with an effective approach to non-formal education. The team in Zimbabwe said ‘this is a huge vote of confidence for our unique youth- led methodology’.