Paul Sixpence - Zimbabwe needs alternative spaces of communication for the youth

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Oct 28, 2015
by Heather Jaber
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Paul Sixpence - Zimbabwe needs alternative spaces of communication for the youth

Paul Sixpence, coordinator of HIV/AIDS and human rights advocacy projects at Centre Stage Media Arts Foundation, discussed issues facing the youth in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa

 

With pressing issues facing the youth in Southern Africa and Zimbabwe, Paul Sixpence, coordinator of HIV/AIDS and human rights advocacy projects at Centre Stage Media Arts Foundation in Bulawayo, discussed the importance of providing a platform for the youth to voice their concerns.

Sixpence, a participant at Youth, Economics, and Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, discussed the work that must be done in the way of media freedom, gender issues, and corruption, with Salzburg Global while at the session. “Probably over the past four to five years, there has been a decline in terms of state repression as well as political violence,” said Sixpence, although these are not necessarily the result of the new constitution. “We still have gaps that need to be filled.”

At Centre Stage Media Arts Foundation, a communication for development initiative, Sixpence works on issues of human rights advocacy, HIV/AIDS, and youth development initiatives. He mainly focuses on youth issues in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, such as unemployment, marginalization, conflict, and HIV/AIDS. Currently, he is working on how media usage can be used for policy advocacy of HIV prevention science.

Intrinsic to these issues is communication between young people and their government.

“It becomes therefore critical that [we] as civil society organizations working with all other partners create these alternative spaces for discussion, and also allow young people themselves to discuss among themselves and articulate the challenges…and solutions to some of the challenges they have.”

During the session, participants discussed barriers to communication for young people in different contexts. Sixpence touched on why having a platform to communicate is vital to the youth, especially in terms of having their concerns met by the government.

“It becomes, therefore, critical that [we] as civil society organisations working with all other partners, create these alternative spaces for discussion, and also allow young people themselves to discuss…and articulate the challenges…and probably solutions to some of the challenges they have.”

“The Salzburg Global Seminar program has been quite useful,” he said, “especially if I reflect on the kind of work that I do at home. There are new insights that I have gained, in terms of looking at youth opportunities for addressing issues around unemployment, the idea of looking at the local level — that could be at city level, that could be at regional level, within a country — the economic solutions that we can come up with to address the solutions on the ground.”

Particularly, said Sixpence, the session gave him new insight on how to tackle problems like the migration issues that stem from violence in countries like South Africa.

“I’m also motivated…as a practitioner and a researcher to try and develop solutions and communications across the border, not [to] work only nationally, but with organizations, [and] stakeholders in South Africa to share our ideas on how best we can solve this particular challenge.”


Paul Sixpence was a Fellow at the session Youth, Economics & Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, which was held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. For more information, please visit the session page: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/549