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Zimbabwe Revives National Youth Service Program, Offering Training and Opportunities

The Zimbabwean government has announced the return of the National Youth Service Program, aiming to empower young people and foster self-reliance. The program, previously established in 2001 before facing delays in relaunch, will undergo significant changes under its new iteration.

Wilson Waison

"The National Youth Service Bill is being drafted following the approval of the Principles in August 2023," confirmed Youth Empowerment Minister Tino Machakaire. An "Inter-Ministerial Implementation Committee" has also been established to oversee the program's reimplementation.

The National Youth Service Program first appeared in Zimbabwe in 2001. It offered vocational training alongside elements of military-style discipline. The program was met with controversy, with some alleging it was used to promote the ruling party's agenda.

The new initiative, officially named "Youth Service in Zimbabwe," targets young people between 18 and 35 years old. Minister Machakaire outlined the program's structure: "The programme will cover 3 months of institutionalised training and 3 months of community attachment and will commence in June 2024 with an enrolment of 750 youths across the country."

Completing the program offers graduates various incentives. "Youths who complete training will receive priority in employment and enrolment into public sector and higher and tertiary education institutions, and will be prioritised for financial support to establish new projects and businesses," Machakaire explained.

Information Minister Jenfan Muswere highlighted the revised curriculum: "The new curriculum will infuse national orientation with life skills training and entrepreneurial development." Participants will receive certificates upon completion.

The government has ambitious plans for the program's reach. "A total of 10,000 youths are earmarked to undergo training in 2024," Information Minister Muswere revealed. "The youths will be drawn equally from all the country's ten provinces and the recruitment will be cascaded to incorporate youths in all wards and districts."

The reintroduction of the National Youth Service Program is a significant development for Zimbabwean youth. While the program's past is complex, its revival promises training opportunities, potential career advantages, and a focus on self-reliance for young participants


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