78 Bulawayo youths receive entrepreneurship skills
Sikhulekelani Moyo, [email protected]
A TOTAL of 78 young people from Bulawayo are ready to start their own businesses after completing an entrepreneurship training programme that has equipped them with various production skills.
Facilitated through ‘Izandla Trade Cap’, an initiative that is being spearheaded by Plan International Zimbabwe in partnership with Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) and other stakeholders, the programme targets young people aged 15-24.
In Bulawayo, a total of 350 young people are expected to take part and about 180 have already benefited. The project is part of the ‘Safe and Inclusive Cities’ drive, being funded by DANIDA and Plan International Denmark Office in eight countries including Zimbabwe.
In Zimbabwe, the programme is being implemented in Bulawayo’s three suburbs, which are Mzilikazi, Makokoba, and Pumula while Harare has Mbare, Stoneridge, Hatcliffe, Epworth, and Chitungwiza as beneficiaries.
In Bulawayo, Plan International Zimbabwe has partnered with BVTA and Zizo Motion Pictures and Harare partners are Youth Ensemble, Dialogue on Shelter, Youth Alliance for Safer Cities, and Mbilez24.
In an interview during the recent graduation ceremony held at Pumula North Hall, BVTA executive director Mr Michael Ndiweni said the initiative seeks to contribute towards economic empowerment of young people as it exposes youths to theoretical and practical skills.
The programme has seen young people go through different skills training including but not limited to baking, beauty therapy, motor mechanics, poultry management, waste management, and garment construction.
“We placed these young people to work with masters of the trade for a defined period where they then go through skills transfer. Thereafter we then support their initiatives from what they have learnt and some of them have already started,” he said.
“Today we were having a graduation ceremony of 78 students who were part of cohort one and two,” said Mr Ndiweni.
“Beyond exposing them to the masters of the trade, we also train them on entrepreneurship skills on starting and improving businesses, we train them on marketing, branding, product standardization and use of technology to do their businesses.”
Mr Ndiweni said those who were trained were also exposed to life skills so that they can be able to manage their personal lives and business.
Area councilor, Sikhululekile Moyo, commended the initiative saying this will help Bulawayo as a city to bring back young people who were now engaged in different misdeeds including drug abuse and theft.
“I’m really impressed by this programme because I have noticed that young people in our communities don’t have anything to do and now they have skills that will help them to start their own businesses,” she said.
“Across all the courses, which were done by these young people, this will reduce loitering and drug abuse. In Pumula we now have a serious problem where young people are engaged in drugs and most of them are now at Engutsheni.
“So, these partners with this programme will bring back Pumula and Bulawayo at large to its dream of having responsible youths.”
Clr Moyo also assured that the local authority will make sure that it supports youths’ initiative by providing workspace, to allow growth of the future Bulawayo entrepreneurs.
Plan International programs area manager, Miss Noreen Makhurane, appealed to the Government, financial institutions, private sector, and local authorities to support those young people to make sure that they will live their dreams after graduation.
“After this graduation, we appeal for the local authorities to support these graduated young people through the provision of workspace, friendly policies, and affordable vending licenses, we also appeal to the Government to also support through policies and funding their projects, and to the financial institutions to fund their projects too and to the private sector. These young people need exposure,” she said.
“We are appealing for marketing and investment opportunities and product testing for start-ups and small-scale producers and continue with mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities.”