By Staff Reporter
Mutasa: Zimbabwe’s National Youth Service is not an inclusive programme but a Zanu PF patronage project which needs to be depoliticised.
This came out during a Joint Youth resilient and capacity building workshop organised by the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU).
RAU has designed programmes that are aimed at empowering youths with livelihood sustenance programmes.
Under the project, RAU is working with Ministry of Youths and the project is being supported by the Canadian International Research Centre.
“The national youth service should be revisited, and the model should be restructured so that it becomes inclusive.
“We want a project that caters for all youths in the country,” said one participant.
Another youth said there was need to depoliticise the national youth service so that all Zimbabwean youths could participate and benefit regardless of political affiliation.
RAU team leader Shatry Njeru said his organisation partnered government to roll out capacity building and development programmes to ease polarisation in the country.
“The youth were considered as available instruments of violence for the state yet for a very long time, particularly those who underwent the National Youth Service programme, who were not only partisan but hated by the greater part of the population,” said Njeru.
He said they were working with government to try to rebrand and recreate the Ministry of Youth which services the population in a non-partisan but professional manner.
“Our point of contact with government is driven by the desire to change perceptions around youths, develop and mould youths who are patriotic, productive and peace loving,” said Njeru.
“We designed a manual that deals with youth resilience, peace building and development. We worked together with government officials to develop this manual which will be launched in Harare in the next two weeks.”
The Ministry’s Provincial Principal Administrative officer Leonard Mukoko said normally, government knows its space, gaps and capacity as they are informed by the engagement with youths and youth-oriented Institutions.
“We appreciate the interests and capacity of stakeholders in trying to close the gaps which the government cannot close.
“The Ministry has critical pillars that are meant to fully develop the young person including inclusive national youth service, sports development, vocational skills and economic empowerment,” said Mukono.