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‘Skills training programme key to rural development’

Manica Post, 10 January 2014 - THE Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development programme dovetails with Government’s Zim-Asset agenda on rural development, the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment has said.

Mr Simon Masanga said this on Monday during the official opening of a two-day planning workshop for the International Labour Organisation, Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development Programme.

The countrywide programme which is funded by the ILO is a partnership between the Government (Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment), trade unions (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) and employers and civil society organisations (Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe).

“In response to the high unemployment levels in the country the ILO developed in 2010 the Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE) programme in order to demonstrate and promote innovative ways to expand technical and vocational training in under-served rural communities and upgrading existing informal apprenticeships that will result in the creation of either wage or self-employment.

“This programme is a direct response to our national objectives which address youth unemployment challenges through the National Youth Policy, the National Employment Policy and the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation,” said Mr Masanga.

He, however, said a high level of policy coherence and co-ordination is needed to deal with the youth unemployment crisis, something that the workshop aimed to achieve for the 2014 projects.

The ILO chief technical adviser for the programme in Western and Southern Africa, Mr Manzoor Khaliq, said the programme is developmental in the wake of high unemployment and high migration of youths from the rural areas to urban centres.

“This programme provides opportunities for youths in the rural areas to fend for themselves and also become employers without migrating to urban areas. There are always employment opportunities at local level.

“We will focus on indirect job creation which has a multiplier effect. It might be one beneficiary but that beneficiary may employ 15 others and by so doing 16 youths are employed and that is what we seek to do,” said Mr Khaliq.

He, however, urged Zimbabweans to change their mindset to achieve economic recovery.

“Change in mindset is very important for Zimbabwe to achieve economic turnaround.

“This country is full of people who ‘can do’ the job, but the state of affairs now needs people who ‘will do’ the job. People who will deliver,” he said.

The head of the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment in Manicaland, Ms Theresa Mupanduki, said in Manicaland the TREE programme has proven developmental as it targets rural communities which were at one point not considered as ‘‘economic groups.’’

She said the programme began in 2012 in Manicaland and since then is transforming lives for youths in some rural areas that now earn a living from their projects.

“So far 800 youths have been trained in various skills.

“In Nyanga the collective potato-farming projects for youths are increasingly growing. In Chipinge there are dairy projects, in Chimanimani West there is apiculture (beekeeping for honey), to mention a few.

“The skills programme helps not only to curb rural-urban migration but pushes youths to make the most of local resources in their community and make money from it, which in turn develops the community,” said Ms Mupanduki.

Participants at the workshop, however, agreed that there was need to factor in sustenance of the programme when donor funds run out.
They said Government should commit to set up funds for the programme when donor funds run out.

ILO is the donor of the programme while Micro King evaluates and disburses the funds for all the programmes.


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