By Tawonga Moyo
Minister of Youth and Sports Uchizi Mkandawire has expressed satisfaction with the skills training being undertaken under the National Youth Service (NYS) programme, saying it has opened doors for youth to become self-reliant.
Speaking on Thursday when he paid a visit to one of the training sites of the programme in Dunduzu, Mzuzu, Mkandawire said to witness the growth of the programme from 100 to 3,600 youth is proof of the positive impact it is having on the ground.
“We have over 81 groups under this initiative across the country and here in Mzuzu City, youth from Chiputula and Chibavi Wards are amongst the 3,600 youth that are learning different skills under NYS.
“I thought it wise to come and appreciate what they are able to do. I am pleased to note that they are now serving their communities by among other things, fixing street lights and generating manure for crops,” said Mkandawire.
He said government is now targeting to train 20,000 young people across the country and that in the 2024/2025 financial year, the ministry will be lobbying parliament for more funding towards the programme.
In her remarks, Director of Funding and Finance at TEVET, Sarah Zgambo, contributed the success of the programme in Mzuzu to the cordial relationship which exists between TEVET, the Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as Mzuzu City Council.
“We thank your direct involvement in monitoring the progress by visiting sites where trainings are being conducted. Here in Mzuzu, we have managed to train 90 youths, 34 of which are girls and the results are impressive,” said Zgambo.
In his remarks, chairperson for Chibavi Youth Action Group, Matthews Kumwenda, called upon government to maintain the programme, saying as youth, they had acquired various skills.
“We have learnt how to make organic fertiliser from waste materials, which we sell at K15,000 per bag. As a group, we got interested with the element of making manure because we want to help the council clear waste in the city,” said Kumwenda.
President Lazarus Chakwera officially established the National Youth Service Programme in Neno District in July 2022.