The International labour Organization (ILO) Zimbabwe through its Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE) Projects, which were implemented over a five year period empowered 10,292 Zimbabwean youths.
In an interview with 263Chat ILO Zimbabwe Programmes Assistant, Mr Simbarashe Sibanda revealed that a huge number of youths benefited from their programs.
“As of June 2015 a total of 10,292 youth were employed, either in wage employment or gainfully self-employed, or had their incomes increased. In addition to this 2,378 craft persons in the informal economy realized a 10 per cent (or more) increment in incomes.
“This was achieved through expanding technical and vocational skills development to rural and urban out-of-school youth through offering demand-driven technical and vocational training in under-served rural communities.
“Through the Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE) methodology, 5,457 young people were provided with skills to take advantage of local economic opportunities. In the informal economy the programme upgraded existing informal apprenticeships in the urban areas with 1,345 young people benefiting,” said Sibanda.
The young people were engaged in economic opportunities across 13 trades spread out over 32 districts on the country and these districts include Beitbridge, Bulawayo, Chegutu; Chikomba, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Chivi among other districts.
Meanwhile, the Quality Improvements in Informal Apprenticeship projects were implemented in Bulawayo; Chitungwiza; Epworth; High Glen; Hurungwe; Makoni; Marondera; Mt Darwin and Mutare
ILO, an organization that is committed to ensure that constituents (Government of Zimbabwe, Employers and Workers organizations) are better positioned to promote more and better jobs, enhance youth employment prospects and build more inclusive economies, through its programmes established models which can be used to curb the skyrocketing unemployment.
“Our development cooperation work is to demonstrate models that the constituency can scale up to meet the challenge of unemployment. Curbing unemployment remains the mandate of Government, private sector, workers and other national stakeholders, with ILO support,” said Sibanda.
Sibanda noted that the challenging macro-economic environment in Zimbabwe calls for innovative ways to promote the decent work agenda.
“During the implementation of the programme we encountered high levels of skepticism among the young people, this called for building of trust in economic empowerment programmes among the young people,” he said
He added that, “Persistent gender stereotypes also encourages low uptake of certain trades and the survival/quality of work life of women in certain workplaces remains challenging.
Going forward, ILO Zimbabwe remains optimistic that young people can contribute to solving some of the challenges their communities face while creating economic opportunities for themselves and their peers.
Photo credit: African Stock Shots
International labour Organization (ILO) ZimbabweMr Simbarashe Sibanda