Harare, Zimbabwe (News of the South)-The USAID funded Zimbabwe: Works initiative has been commended by government for promoting inclusive growth in the country after it benefited over 17 000 young females empowering them with technical, entrepreneurship and financial skills.

 

ZW, which promotes sustainable youth development, has trained nearly 29 000 youth of which 17 500 were young females.

 

Speaking at the occasion to celebrate its five years in operation the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Sithembiso Nyoni said the project would continue receiving government support.

 

“This is a commendable achievement as women empowerment is critical in promoting inclusive growth.

 

“These women and youth would otherwise have been tempted to engage in unproductive, destructive and retrogressive behaviour. Instead, now they have an opportunity to contribute to both urban and rural development”, she said in a speech read on her behalf by Director David Nyakonda.

 

Nyoni said the Ministry will therefore continually provide all the necessary support to ensure effective implementation of programmes for the development of MSMEs and Cooperative sector.

 

USAID Acting Mission Director Julie Nenon said the program is a much needed initiative in Zimbabwe’s struggling economy.

 

“In this current economic environment, the future is uncertain for many young Zimbabweans. Finding a job is hard, and finding a job that pays is even harder.

 

“This is why USAID, DFID and Sida are excited to have supported such initiatives that provide young people with sustainable opportunities to fulfil their dreams”, she said.

 

The ZW program partnered with various microfinance to provide nearly 5 000 loans to youth to start and expand their businesses and 73 percent of youth who accessed the loans were females.

 

To promote employment linkages the program also supported over 5 000 tertiary graduates to complete work readiness and life skills training.

Of these, over 1 800 were placed on internships, and 80 percent managed to secure full time employment.

 

The program has served to help the country which is suffering an unprecedented number of unemployed youths at a time the demographics point to a huge bulge within the same 16 to 35 age group.

 

Many youths have resorted to fleeing the economic crunch and going to neighbouring countries in search of employment.


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