We dont need another buzzword

Empowerment. Gender Equity. Gender mainstreaming. Youth agenda. These have all become buzzwords without a real meaning. They represent lofty paper ideals but seldom translate into any qualitative or quantitative transformation.

Zimbabwe, like Africa is faced by a multitude of problems, none of which can be solved by catchy slogans and high visibility, low output awareness campaigns. When the dust of the road shows has settled and the last echo of the slogan has faded away, we find that the problems have not gone away.

I feel that our biggest problem as a nation is that we wont allow ourselves to think beyond a certain point. In the eighties and nineties, education was all the rage. Before the present educational crisis, we boasted one of the highest literacy rates on the continent. Yet, we are at the very bottom of the heap socially, economically and politically. It is very clear that education alone does not solve problems. It seems that we have become a nation that is too educated to take risks. When the economy was plagued with hyperinflation and subject to the whim of the Reserve Bank Governor, the educated fled and became another buzzword, economic migrants.

A new millennium brought with it new buzzwords like globalisation, and development. Now, Aid has become big business. I would wager any amount that the non-governmental sector rivals any government in being the biggest single employer. NGOs do work that is often necessary. They fill in the gaps that governments so often miss, because of corruption and mismanagement. Regardless, they are founded on the principle of giving without requiring the receiver to do any work. Aid creates dependency, nowhere else is that more obvious than right here at home. It has been almost ten years; Zimbabwe has had a healthy NGO sector for longer than that, yet we are no closer to our development goals than when we started.

In truth, our problem from the beginning has been a lack of creativity and innovation. Yes we have a large skill set, yes we are highly educated, but without creativity and innovation we are a nation of donor dependent employees, not proud self-sufficient employers. Solutions must come from us, not via Western Union money gram or another donor funded feeding scheme.

Post published in: Opinions

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