Zimbabwe: Shingirirai Tanaka Chikazhe

Zimbabwe: Shingirirai Tanaka Chikazhe

Date: May 26, 2021
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Name Shingirirai Tanaka
Surname Chikazhe
Sex ü  Male
Name of Organisation National Junior Councils Association of Zimbabwe (NJCA)
Designation Executive Director
Country Zimbabwe
Province Harare Metropolitan
City/ Town/ Village Harare



e.g. 00 27 82 665 1742

Age Group (please tick) oYounger than 18 18-25o ü  26-40 41-50o 51-60 o 60 +    o
Education level Primary School   ¨ Secondary School o ü  Tertiary Vocational  o Adult literacy o
First met GL Year 2017 Event GL National Summit
Encounters with GL since first meeting My first encounter with Gender Links, I did not really understand the vision of GL but with the capacitation from the Zimbabwe GL office, I got to have a different look at life and how
I interact with communities and even family members. Gender Links up to date has supported me to have self-actualisation and to  assist those within the constituencies I work in through empowering them on being gender sensitive and to actively participate in local governance.
Phone number +263 773 713 575
Email address shingi.chikazhe@gmail.com
Extent of change I currently encourage more young ladies to partake in local governance participation through the Junior Councils that we have in all the 10 Provinces of Zimbabwe. From home, my community and work, I now give time to understand everyone around me and give them my attention and support they may need so that they also achieve their personal and organisational goals.
Are you living with a disability ü  No ¨ Yes




If yes specify type of disability ¨ Physical
¨ Sensory (sight, hearing, taste, speech, smell)
¨ Learning
¨ Mental
¨ Other


’’I remember in 2018 when I attended a Gender Links Summit in Zimbabwe where there were Local Authorities’ CEOs, Town Clerks and Gender Focal persons. I had a slot in the program to present on the importance of involving youths and children in local governance planning and service delivery implementation. I was so nervous and by that time I felt to be very young amongst very elderly people whom I thought would not even give an ear to anything I would say. However, with the encouragement and support from Gender Links my presentation was just the beginning of many that have seen an increase of Local Authorities that have active Junior Councils coming from around 35 Councils to around 57 Councils currently. Many girls have also enrolled in Junior Council since our partnership with Gender Links. That memory, of the first presentation gives me the energy to keep on going.’’

Shingirirai Chikazhe is a youth who is the Executive Director of the National Junior Councils Association of Zimbabwe (NJCA) which is the mother body of Junior Councils in Zimbabwe. His agenda is to lead his team in achieving the vision of the association. Lobbying and advocating for the realisation of children’s rights through local authorities’ inclusive and sustainable service delivery. Chikazhe and his team assist local authorities in setting up Junior Councils and capacitating them to be able to effectively participate in local governance and civic affair issues. After encountering with Gender Links in Zimbabwe, Chikazhe has attended a number of Gender Links organised summits and the SADC protocol which all have equipped him with a mind and zeal to empower more youths especially young girls to stand and speak their voices when it comes to local governance and service delivery.

’’I am honoured to have met the Gender Links team in Zimbabwe, we have managed to build a great team through the partnership of our two organizations. I got to appreciate that for other young boys and girls to self-actualise they also need that support, knowledge sharing and encouragement from someone within their age group range. Someone they look up to as an elderly brother. Most young girls are shy to express their passion for leadership but with support and trainings from Gender Links we have managed to capacitate and empower them to be confident and represent their constituencies/wards.’’

’’I feel I still have a lot to contribute towards the communities I work with through our local authorities in Zimbabwe. I did not realise that a lot of youths looked up to me and always felt that I can support them to meet their goals especially in civic issues participation. This is how I see I changed, realising I have a role in positive building to others and imparting my knowledge and experience to them (mostly youths). I can now approach any office within central government and local authorities as we lobby for legislation that encompasses issues of children and youths. Gender Links take much credit for who I am today because Gender Links has introduced me to various engagements that had high profile offices and heads of various government and civil society departments. This exposure has allowed me to boost up my confidence and also opened my mind through the capacity building processes I got engaged in. I have attended summits, SADC protocol, Lets’ Talk, SRHR campaigns, online dialogues with youths from other nations in the SADC, trainings of various Junior Councils and all these initiatives I got support or recommendations from Gender Links that is why I say it has much credit on who I am today. Priscilla Maposa the Regional Networking manager for Gender Links is one person I will say has changed me lot. Learning from her stories she shares and also how vibrant she is as a lady engaging Ministries and the Central Government on Gender related issues. She has made me come out of my comfort zone by encouraging me to stand for what I think is good and also challenging me to be creative and innovative in my approaches and ways of thinking. I am sure she will subscribe to what I said, I have learnt a lot of things from her and also gained her support and guidance if I can say mentoring as well.’’

Shingirirai Chikazhe has gained more knowledge on gender and youth mainstreaming when it comes to local governance and civic affair issues. Chikazhe also understands how many other government departments operate through their presentations at Gender Links workshops and summits. Chikazhe also got to understand about HUB councils and how they were capacitated to assist other councils in gender related issues. His lobbying skills have also improved and he got to understand the importance of doing things in time and representing others fully and well as what GL does when advocating for gender sensitive governance and service delivery.

’’There is also Tapiwa Zvaraya from Gender Links taught me team work and how important communication is through the engagements we have had so far, Colleen Lowe Morna also gave me hope through sharing her success stories and challenges she faced and still faces but the energy is, ‘ keep going and targeting your objectives’.’’

The changes reflect on Shingirirai Chikazhe’s close relations especially home as he shares all duties with his wife. He does not say cooking, sweeping and even washing the baby clothes are mother’s duties but instead he tackles some duties as to relief his wife. He also has taught his wife other duties like interest and managing farm activities which is a reflection of a character that is inclusive, caring and responsible. He also says he will teach his first  daughter Chikomborero not divide duties but tackle responsibilities as they come and with confidence and courage. The wife is happy for she says her husband now involves himself fully in everything within the family that he knows when everything is okay or not because he is involved. ’’He is a loving and caring husband and has changed on his handling of duties, when he comes from work, he is no longer an Executive Director but a father, a friend, a husband and a helper. We are happy for this positive development.’’ Said Mrs Chikazhe.

Shingirirai Chikazhe comes from a small town called Mvurwi in Mashonaland Central Zimbabwe. Chikazhe has been doing advocacy since high school and this has seen a lot of other students following him and looking up to him as a role model especially in Mvurwi where there is little activity for youth development. Some have seen hope through him and have put on their journey gears to strive for what they believe in and also what they would want to achieve in their lives’ goals. Chikazhe besides being a youth advocate he is also a young farmer who took interest in farming four years ago. Chikazhe has brought courage and made his community and peers that you can live within the means of where you are and what you have whilst doing good and working extra hard always.

Chikazhe has lobbied and left a continuous system of Junior Council structure within Mvurwi town after his term of office as the first Junior Mayor for Mvurwi. He carried out various campaigns including commemorating the day of the African child and having clean up campaigns and carrying out chicken projects that supported orphans and vulnerable children. Chikazhe took advocacy to the National level after experience in Junior Council. He and a few peers from Mvurwi, Marondera, Harare, Gweru, Mutoko and Chitungwiza started the formulation of NJCA in 2012 and got it registered in 2013. NJCA lobbied to be involved in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works of Zimbabwe as a youth desk which was approved in 2015. Since then, there were only about 8 local authorities with Junior Councils out of 92 but today we are having 58 local authorities and counting more with active Junior Councils. The bid is to reach all 92 local authorities. Gender Links is walking in the same shoes with Chikazhe as it is supporting NJCA where he works to achieve goals of inclusive governance that is youth and gender sensitive. Advocating and lobbying the government and local authorities together. Gender Links is taking these strides and sharing with other local authorities and by so doing it has helped and encouraged more local authorities to establish Junior Councils.

The journey has had its challenges for Chikazhe, a child coming from high school with a vision that there is need to network existing Junior Council then from there start lobbying local authorities to come up with council resolutions to establish JCs whilst at the same time engaging the Central government to take on board youth issues in to governance. He also was starting his college life which he never really enjoyed for a youth as he had many other commitments surrounding him. He confirms he had a supporting family especially his mother, sister and two brothers who stood by him and encouraged him even when he was about to lose hope and give up. Chikazhe also managed to overcome his challenges through his friends and peers who stood resilient in pushing for the achievement of their goal.

For his future plans Chikazhe said,’’I just pray and will do any thing in my power to reach the 92 local authority mark all having Junior Councils for every child despite colour, race, disability or not, living in urban or rural areas, they all need representation and have their voices heard by government so that they get friendly and adequate service delivery. I also would be very happy if all SADC countries could adopt the Junior Council concept, it allows communities to groom responsible and patriotic future leaders who are selfless.’’

’’Gender Links may seem to be not doing anything, but in Zimbabwe it has changed a lot of lives from the elderly to the young children, communities and the nation. I say GL should never stop in supporting the government of Zimbabwe and also youth associations and networks like the young women network to keep on advocating for the empowerment of youths especially young girls as well as lobbying and holding local authorities to account for the service delivery that is youth and gender sensitive.’’

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