Young Voices campaigners in Zimbabwe influence the new constitution

Young Voices campaigners in Zimbabwe captured the demands of people with disabilities and their expectations of the new Zimbabwean constitution in a consultation they arranged with DPOs, civil society organisations and Young Voices campaigners. They developed a position paper from the consultation that was submitted to the Advisor to the President and Cabinet on Disability issues.

The final draft of the constitution was published in January 2013, and in a March referendum it was voted for by 94% of the population. Five of the seven recommendations made by Young Voices in the position paper were taken forward in the new constitution. These are:

1. People with disabilities were included and participated in the process of drafting the constitution.
2. The constitution has a clause stating that government will create programmes for the employment of people with disabilities.
3. The constitution mainstreams disability in various national socio – economic and cultural programmes.
4. The constitution encourages the use of forms of communication accessible to people with disabilities.
5. Sign language is to be made an official language.