Shape Your Own Future, Youths Told
The government has rallied youths to take an active role in economic and socio-political governance of the country saying they should be part of policy-making process as this entails their involvement in the shaping of their future.
By Lovejoy Mutongwiza Recently In Marondera
Speaking to 263Chat on the sidelines of a three-day workshop for Zimbabwe Policy Tracking Group, Mashonaland East Provincial Youth Development Officer, Farai Chibanda reiterated government’s commitment to mainstream youths in all its economic programs.
“We are trying to mainstream the youths in the mainstream of the economy, this is despite some of them being left out of other programs. If you look at the past two years, we have engaged them in programs like the command agriculture which means they are adding value to the food security.
“However, youths should not only wait to be invited to take part in these programs, they need to take an active role in the creation of their employment. So we are recognising, as it is written in the National Youth Policy, that there should be employment creation but this has to start with them. They have to look for ideas that will shape their future,” he noted
Chibanda added that despite the high levels of unemployment amongst the youth, the government remains committed to creating more opportunities for them.
“We are happy with the progress we are making it as far as creating jobs for the youths is concerned. We are aware of the state of our industries which might not offer great opportunities but we know there are some youths who have come up with brilliants projects which are creating employment not for them alone, but for other youths,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Policy Tracking Group is a National Youth Association under the Zimbabwe Youth Council which enable young advocates to actively track legislative issues and assure continuity of the Demographic Dividend, Junior Parliament Sittings, Policy Open Debate Sessions and District Assembly meetings amongst others.
Youths who took part at the workshop called on government to avail more opportunities and better policies for them.
“Youth will also be the driving force behind economic prosperity in future decades, but only if policies and programs are in place to enhance their opportunities and encourage smaller families,” said one participant.
In the last two years, the ZYC with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under the Safeguard Young People (SYP) Programme has managed to roll out a number of activities in line with its mandate of encouraging youth participation.
These programming activities led to the identification of key young advocates in different sectors across the country which necessitated the rationale for the establishment of the Zimbabwe Policy Tracking Group.
The group runs under the hashtag #Zim2063 in line with the vision of the African Union and harnessing the Demographic Dividend. It operates as a youth network with the major aim of advocating and lobbying for the youth voice in policy and legislation formulation and implementation.
Zimbabwe has one of the highest unemployment rates with unconfirmed figures point out that the unemployment rate stands at more than 87%.
The causes of unemployment are manifold including the incompatibility between the curriculum and the needs of the industry in changing times.
The effects of high youth unemployment include youth engaging into drug abuse, violence and crime, promiscuity leading to prostitution where they end up contracting HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections that can be detrimental to their health.