Government approves return of National Youth Service programme
Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has approved the re-establishment of the National Youth Service Programme designed to instill in young Zimbabweans between the ages of 18 and 35 years, a sense of national identity and patriotism as well as equipping them with survival skills through honesty and hard work.
The National Youth Service is in line with the African Youth Charter and the Southern African Development Community framework, as well as Vision 2030.
The National Youth Service was first introduced in 2000 by the late Border Gezi, who was then Minister for Gender, Youth and Employment with the first training camp being established in Mount Darwin in 2001.
During training, the youths will be encouraged to participate in development projects and disaster response activities and thereby assist in enhancing national capacity to manage disasters.
Under the revamped programme, Vocational Training Centres across all the provinces will focus on entrepreneurship and livelihood skills training. This will encompass enterprise awareness, opportunity identification, project financing, and basic farming.
The Civil Protection Unit will place emphasis on disaster mitigation and management skills.
In her post Cabinet briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet considered and approved the re-establishment of the National Youth Service Training Programme proposal after it was presented by Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry.
“The proposal came as a result of consultations between the Ministries of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation; and Defence and War Veterans Affairs. Cabinet noted that National Youth Service is an important youth development programme which is crucial in nurturing young people into becoming responsible and resilient citizens with a clear sense of national identity and respect for national values,” she said.
“The programme is a key strategy for youth empowerment in national, regional, continental and international development guiding frameworks to which Zimbabwe is a member. The frameworks include the Sadc Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan; the African Youth Charter of 2006; the World Programme of Action on Youth; and the United Nations Youth Strategy 2030.”
The Minister said the programme is designed to equip youths with patriotism, discipline, volunteerism, survival skills, hard work, loyalty, tolerance, resilience, determination and honesty. The Constitution provides that all institutions and agencies of Government at all levels must take reasonable measures, including affirmative action, to ensure that youths have access to appropriate education and training, that they participate in social, economic and other spheres of life, and that they are empowered and protected from harmful practices, exploitation and abuse.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the roll-out of the National Youth Service Programme will involve community attachment of youths for work experience and service to various Government departments and local authorities.
“Graduates of the programme will qualify for further training, assistance in starting businesses, and for enrolment for careers in the police, the army, the air force, nursing and teaching, among others,” she said.
The programme will also take on board the disabled, and maintain gender balance and fair regional representation, with recruitment taking place through district offices.
Cabinet further resolved that the National Youth Service Programme will be funded by Government, upon enactment of the necessary law.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the programme will also be mandated to generate its own income through engagement in commercial activities.
“The youths will not pay fees but will be provided with uniforms, training kits and travel expenses, and will be accorded allowances as the economy improves. More details on the implementation modalities of the policy will be provided as the programme unfolds,” she said.-@mashnets