Update from a Busy Young Advocate: Max in Zambia

By Maximo Simbuwa.

Since I attended the RIATT-ESA sponsored Children's Conference at the Psychosocial Support Conference in 2015, I have had meetings with stakeholders including government officials, MPs, partner organizations, etc. I have attended two meetings with a group of MPs call the Parliamentary Caucus on Children(PCC). We have since discussed topics like sanitation, teacher pupil class ratio, vulgar language in schools, introduction of comprehensive sex education as a subject and the importance of good nutrition. I believe that nutrition is a very important topic as Zambia is the third hungriest nation in the world. I have also worked with partner organizations like Save The Children, where we advocated for double investment in health and education for the next three years.

I have since joined a youth group called the future changers. In partnership with stakeholders like the church, the future changers deal with youth and child development through sport and shows how sport is always an alternative. At sporting events like tournaments, participants are educated on a variety of topics including, sexual reproduction, sanitation, importance of school and where and how to report if their rights are being violated. It is safe to say that young people are now aware of their, especially after collaborations with stakeholders after recording a decrease in Early Child Marriages and Teenage pregnancies.

I have used a lot of methods I learnt at the Children and Youth Conference, such as using more fun ways of teaching, rather than the conventional one’s, that children may consider to be boring. I have also used teaching by encouraging other people to share their personal experiences and stories, then just building on the main ideas in what they share. Also presenting our work to stakeholders in more creative ways like drama, poetry, dance, memes and zines and other forms of art. This is done for the purposes of showing the stakeholders that we are still children, despite having big hearts and minds.

However, while we are influencing stakeholders and government, challenge has been the slow pace in which progress is made.