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Tinotenda from Zimbabwe

Please tell us a bit more about you and your life. And what are your interests.

My name is Tinotenda Matenda a young Zimbabwean Youth Leader I was born and grew up in Chitungwiza, Harare Zimbabwe.  I’m currently in my final year pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work. Having grown up in Chitungwiza, I witnessed numerous child rights violations, of primary concern being environmental child rights such as access to clean water, a safe environment for children to play etc. This shaped my interests in child and youth participation, climate change and youth empowerment. Because most of senior members of the community have adapted to the status core, I believe children and young people don’t only have a chance to make positive change, they also have the greatest interests, in the present and future in environmental issues and their involvement can help address national, regional and global challenges.


Why are environmental issues important to you?

As has been proven by academics and scholars overtime, the physical, mental growth and development of children is shaped by the environment to a greater extent. When the environment is damaged the future is destroyed. Extreme weather conditions increase the vulnerability of children to diseases, their lives are threatened. Issues such as global warming, pollution, air pollution and water pollution affect the most basic rights of children such as education, food security and access to health services. As such environmental issues are important because they have an impact on the enjoyment of many other child rights including the most basic ones.


What are the most important issues for children related to the environment and climate change in your community \country\ region?

I currently reside in a mining and agricultural community, the most important issues are climate change mitigation and adaptation. The changing weather patterns affect the yields of the general farming population that does agriculture for sustenance, as such reduced yields because of changing global weather patterns will put children and young people at risk of child labor and child marriage. Thus climate change adaptation and mitigation are important issues as they help towards protection of children. Access to clean and safe water are also important issues as they affect the day to day activities of children and young people in my country and community, non-availability of water entails that some children will spend more time carrying buckets in search of water, which has since proved to put girls at a greater risk of exploitation.

Capacity development for communities to bring service providers to account and also to help respond to the regional threats to environmental child rights is also a key issue for my region


What are you doing to protect the environment?

As a young leader I have been actively engaged in advocacy work, representing the voices of children and young people at platforms such as the just ended Local Conference of children and youth that was held by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Environment, climate Tourism and hospitality (MECTHI) with other partners. This conference gave us an opportunity as young people to put our voice into the upcoming COP 27. I also take time during community dialogues that are hoisted by ROOTS to educate community leaders and parents about climate change. Through works of the youth network from ROOTS I also engage with adolescent girls and young women from Bindura Rural raising awareness about their rights and the responsibilities that they have in protecting the environment


Can you share with us a good children and youth activity happening in your community or country to help or protect the environment?

Young people have been involved in the Presidential Clean Up campaign that was launched by the president cleaning the environment collectively every first Friday of the month.

Organization have been supporting children and youths to participate in global campaigns and raising awareness on climate change and the environment   . Some of the organizations include Zimbabwe Environmental law association, Regional Network for Children and Young People trust, All for Climate Action Zimbabwe amongst many other organizations

Young people from tertiary institutions such as Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti have been involved in annual tree planting initiatives


You are working quite hard to protect your environment. Do you also have a personal dream?

I have a dream to lead my great nation in the future, a nation with its rich flora and fauna and natural wild life. That dream can only be possible if we collectively protect the environment today

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