Masvingo (New Ziana)-The government has unveiled an ambitious entrepreneurial vocational training programme for youths, targeting 30 000 annually.
The programme is part of the government’s economic empowerment for youths, and also aims to address growing drug and substance abuse by young people.
Speaking at the National Youth Day, Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Ezra Chadzamira said the government had established 48 vocational training centres around the country and trained 20 000 youths last year in this endeavour.
He said the training would enable the youths the youths to be engaged in empowerment programmes resulting in a significant drop in cases of drugs and substance abuse.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Provincial Affairs and Devolution Permanent secretary, Dr Jefta Sakukwanya, he urged young people to be engaged in government projects that can help reduce youth economic idleness.
“The government has established 48 vocational training centres in all provinces of the country and during the year 2021, 20 000 youths were equipped in vocational training centres to gain entrepreneur skills and this year 28 000 youths are being targeted, this empowerment programme results in the reduction of youth economic idleness and the significant drop in cases of drug and substance abuse among them,” said Chadzamira.
He expressed appreciation to the government for promoting active youth participation in various projects, organisers of the commemorations and local sponsors for managing to gather the youths from all provinces for the day whose theme was “Towards achieving Vision 2030, alleviating drugs and substance abuse”.”
“I encourage all youths to actively participate in government programmes and not drown yourselves in drugs because we cannot allow drugs to destroy such a young generation.”
The Minister said the government has put in place banks which support youth empowerment and these have branches and agencies across all provinces of the country.”
Speaking at the same occasion, My Age Zimbabwe director, Onward Gibson acknowledged government youth programmes that have positively impacted on drug and substance abuse of which unemployment is one of the key drivers as is peer pressure.
“We have so many young people who are facing mental health issues especially during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns because young people had nothing to do during that period and occupied themselves in drugs,” said Gibson.
He encouraged youths to stop engaging themselves in drugs and substance abuse to have a brighter future.”
Let’s stop drug and substance abuse so that we safe guard our future,” he said.
Gibson said that the youths need to be engaged in income generating projects and the resuscitation of recreational centres would also be assistance in keeping them occupied.
“Our wish is for youths to have income generating projects, there is need for resuscitation of recreation centres, availability of mental health clubs and rehabilitation centres,” he said.
“We already have clubs in and out of schools, in terms of mental health clubs we have a platform called 263 Youth TV where we use music and arts to promote participation of young people in community development.”