By Leah Malimbasa
Minister of Youth and Sports, Uchizi Mkandawire, has expressed satisfaction and gratitude for the success of the National Youth Service programme which was launched by President Dr Lazarus Chakwera in 2022.
Speaking during a spot check of the programme at Namila Youth Centre in Chikwawa on Thursday, the minister commended growth and success of the programme, praising the unwavering support received from government in expanding the initiative nationwide.
Currently, 3,600 participants are undergoing diverse training programmes in various trades including welding, fabrication, entrepreneurship, business and tailoring.
Mkandawire expressed hope that the initiative is significantly benefiting the participating youths and contributing to the realisation of Malawi 2063.
“The core objective of the programme is ensuring accessible service delivery in every community and to eliminate the need for residents to travel long distances to access for essential commodities and services.
“The programme is empowering young people with skills relevant to their communities, ultimately fostering local service provision. So, this is transforming young individuals into valuable assets for their communities,” he said.
In his remarks, Chikwawa District Youth Officer, McNeal Shire, said the district has a youth population of 292,668 organised into 179 youth groups with five actively participating in the National Youth Service programme.
Shire emphasised the district’s commitment for a comprehensive approach to skills development, with two groups immersed in Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) courses involving 51 youths.
“Additionally, three groups are dedicated to Agribusiness courses supporting 79 youths in pursuing agricultural skills,” he said.
During the spot check, Namila Youth Club consisting of 25 members demonstrated their expertise in soap making.
Chairperson for Namila Youth Club, Gremu Wilodi revealed that the soap-making skills acquired through the programme have already translated into tangible benefits for the youth club members.
“We have already started selling our soap within our community and we are grateful for the skills and financial prospects that this initiative promises.
“We are looking beyond local markets; the dream is to expand our reach nationwide and eventually venture into international markets by exporting these products,” said Wilodi.
Wilodi commended government for introducing this life-changing initiative which, he said, is empowering the youth and building resilient self-reliance among communities.
Apart from Namila, other youth clubs participating in the programme are Medram Youth Club which focuses on welding and fabrication, Chimwemwe Youth Club specialised in broiler production and Mgwirizano Youth Club trained in beekeeping and honey production, among other groups.