Zimbabwe Youth Council has called for meaningful participation of youths in national governance as part of efforts to promote inclusive development in the country.
By Nathan Leander Guma
The call was made by ZYC Director, Juliana Kariri following the commemoration of this year’s International Youth Day which was held on the 12th of August 2020.
“Youths are active and capable, therefore they should be given a chance to play a pro-active role in society,” she said.
Kariri added that there is need to formalize youth owned businesses and capacitate young business people.
A report by Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (ZimStat) shows 34% of the working population is informally employed.
The report further states 2,987,064 out of a working population of 3,463,512 are aged 15 years and above. Several youths therefore make the informal sector hence the need to formalize their businesses.
ZYC has been working to capacitate youths whose businesses have been heavily impacted by the prevailing unfavorable economic conditions.
“Zimbabwe Youth Council has assisted 64 companies owned and run by young people. By year end we would like to assist up to 1,000 across the country,” Kariri said.
Capacitating youths in entrepreneurship was also discussed at the 2nd Edition of the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Youth Forum where representatives from 16 member states agreed that SADC stakeholders should promote youths in technological innovation and agribusiness.
Kariri says there is a need for training programmes that lead to attitude change and new thinking among the youths.
“Mindset education and training is important,” Kariri said. “We have trained over 165 youth on the need to create volunteer clubs in their societies.”
She says this will help young people to take charge of their future.
“Youths have to realise that they are vanguards of their destiny. If they do not pick up the pen, no one will,” she said.
Sierra Leonean youth rights advocate, Mohamed Umar Berrie agrees with Kariri on the need for youths to take a leading role in community development.
“Youths need to think about what lies ahead of them for they are writers of their future,” says Umar Berrie, founder of Sierra Leone-based Youth in Action for Human Rights (YAHR).
He says youths should be developmental without being used.
“Most youths are off-track in bringing change that will create a positive impact to others. They should not be used by politicians as they will be hooked into unnecessary violence,” says Berrie who has been following the Zimbabwean situation.
Zimbabwean youths make 67.7% of the population and face a host of challenges among them unemployment, unaffordable education, and limited access to health care.
The problems have been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 which has closed down the informal sector.