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Active citizenship contributes to society

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JUNIOR Chamber International (JCI) dedicated the first week of June, termed, “JCI week”, as always, to the demonstration of active citizenship, as a contribution to society, as well as to encourage an attitude of service and philanthropy amongst fellow citizens.

World No Tobacco Day
To begin with we joined World Health Organisation in commemorating World No Tobacco Day on May 31 2014, in partnership with Rehabilitation and Prevention of Tuberculosis (RAPT).

Together we conducted a public event to highlight the hazards of smoking to both primary and secondary consumers.

The event was publicised and widely shared on JCI Bulawayo’s public Facebook page, as well as through the distribution of fliers and display of posters in public places, to invite the public at large.

We started by fielding a speaker from RAPT, who presented a lecture on the hazards of smoking, with statistics on the consequences of tobacco (including deaths from cancer and respiratory diseases). We learned that according to World Health Organisation (WHO) tobacco kills nearly six million people annually, of which more than 600 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke and that tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally, causing 10% of adult deaths worldwide.

It is anticipated that it will kill more than eight million people annually by 2030, with more than 80% being people living in low and middle-income countries.

For World No Tobacco Day 2014, WHO and its partners are calling on countries to raise taxes on tobacco, which will trigger higher cigarette prices, as a deterrent.

One of our members, a medical professional, then analysed the physiological consequences of smoking, with the aid of graphic pictures.

Then two young smokers, who participated voluntarily, gave personal testimonies, on why they smoke, addiction and their understanding of the consequences of tobacco.

We also had a lively and informative debate by the Lupane State University’s debating society on the best way to manage the hazards of tobacco. This promoted education among the youths who had to research in preparation for the debate that considered the options of banning tobacco versus education and rehabilitation campaigns.

Anti – Littering Campaign
JCI Bulawayo’s Going Eco Friendly project, which aims to promote environmental sustainability, with a specific focus on litter management in Bulawayo, realised after its survey conducted in line with the Active Citizen Framework, that one major cause of litter was that people lacked awareness and conscientisation.

The project team therefore conducted a poetry competition on Friday the 6th of June under the theme, “My Clean Bulawayo”.

Ten of the invited schools (EMCEE College, Milton High, Townsend High, Sizane High School, Lobengula Secondary, Mzilikazi High, Maranatha High, Mpopoma High, Makhandeni Secondary, Njube High, Nketa High, Nkulumane High) managed to participate in the event.

The competition, comprising English and Ndebele deliveries, was won by Vuyisile Ndlovu of Maranatha, while Junior Moyo of Sizane and Noxolo Mayuni of Lobengula came second and third respectively.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) made a presentation advising participants about how to safeguard the environment, while Bulawayo City Council donated a venue. EMA recommended methods to curb littering, which included the following:

  •   Cook only as much food as you can eat,
  • Buy only as many fruits and vegetables as you can consume,
  • Buy reusable shopping bags to avoid generating volumes of non – reusable plastic, which is often dumped.
  • Dump litter only in designated buns,
  • Form environmental clubs at schools to promote environmental awareness,
  • Recycle litter. It was shared that Gifford High School recycles Jiggies snack packs for instance,
  • Use Delta recycling cages found at Bradfield, Morningside and in other locations,
  • Give away old clothes to the needy instead of dumping or accumulating these at home,
  • Use rechargeable batteries and energy saving light bulbs.

Zimbabwe Youth Council, Leaders for Africa Network, the provincial ministry responsible for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province and other civic and government departments were also represented at the event.

Readers are encouraged to google the litter management practices of the 10 cleanest sites worldwide, Freiburg (Germany), Singapore, Copenhagen (Denmark), Wallington (New Zealand), Kobe (Japan), Ifrane (Morocco), Helsinki (Finland), Honolulu, Hawaii, Minneapolis (America) and Calgary (Canada).

In these places, activities like spitting, smoking, jay-walking and littering are frowned upon or strictly prohibited in public, to protect the environment.

In the next phase, JCI Bulawayo will partner with corporates, civic groups and government to address infrastructural causes of the litter problem.

Interaction and Networking

We also had a membership night on Thursday June 5, where we interacted with like–minded guests who included civic groups, as well as a social on Saturday 7 for members and friends.

 Mlondolozi Ndlovu is 2014 Local President of JCI Bulawayo
(email: jcibulawayo@gmail.com or mndlovu@jcizimbabwe.org)

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