Monday, November 7, 2011

The Young People's Festival: Africa Unity Square- 5 October 2011


The Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Honourable Saviour Kasukuwere was asked to give an address at the "Young people's Youth Festival" at the memorial Africa Unity Square in Harare. Below is the address the Minister gave to the youths present, it remains relevant to all Zimbabwean youths across the globe....


The Hon Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe

The Hon. Junior President , Anesu Rangwani

Resident Representative of UNFPA, Dr Tambashe

Representatives of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare

Representatives of other Government ministries

Representatives of the various NGOs

Invited guests

Young women and men

I am pleased to be invited to be part of the Young People’s Festival Campaign that is being held today. The idea of holding festivals resonates very positively in bringing together young people and the various supporting actors to confirm our collective commitment to building better lives for youth.

Today’s theme ‘Ensuring that every child is wanted and every birth is safe’ is particularly significant as we acknowledge the world population of 7 billion recently attained.

The theme also raises a few important points that I wish to share with you today:

My First point relates to the excessively high numbers of children born to young people. Most births are unplanned. Many young parents are unprepared and unable to provide suitable care and support for them.

Although we receive reports of some success, this situation persists despite the efforts of very many programmes and organizations throughout Zimbabwe.

The greater efforts have been on imploring the personal responsibility that young people have on their own lives and the lives of their children.

The key point is about being responsible. Being able to be responsible is a central aspect of youth empowerment. Being personally responsible means being able to make the right choices and the right decisions about ones life and those that you care for. It also means being able to do take the right
actions to support your life and the lives of others.

Therefore, for youth, the ability to have children goes hand in hand with the ability to be responsible.

My ministry’s commitment to EMPOWERMENT means First, providing young people with opportunities to be able to acquire knowledge and skills to be responsible and to make the right choices ; and Secondly, to take action by supporting themselves economically.

My Ministry works with several organizations to implement programmes for supporting healthy lives among young people. The major aim has been to foster good sexual and reproductive health behaviours among young. The success of these programmes rests on the extent to with youth believe and make safe and healthy choices.

This brings me to my Second point today which relates to the extremely high numbers of youth who are unemployed. Many have not acquired qualifications or skills and are therefore unable to become employed or to become self employed.

The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to ensuring that every young person is able to support themselves and their families. We are emphasizing entrepreneurship as the major route to youth employment.

My Ministry’s programmes focus on providing skills for entrepreneurship as well as to support business development among youth. The entrepreneurship programmes are offered to all types of youth – those with tertiary qualifications as well as those without.

We work with several partner organizations to provide business training. One key agency is the Zimbabwe Youth Council who hold training workshops in partnership with various organizations. Many tertiary institutions also have included business training alongside their academic programmes.

For those not in tertiary institutions we have short courses to develop skills
competences and qualifications for particular products combined with business skills.

My Ministry also partners with local banks to provide loans and credit to help
young people start and grow businesses. We have a Youth Development Fund that has already helped several hundreds of youth become employers or be employed.

We encourage youth to pursue entrepreneurship as the main opportunity for earning incomes to support themselves.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge the work of several organizations and individuals working tirelessly to help Zimbabwe achieve better success with healthy lives. It is the hard effort, commitment and creativity of all of you that brings collective success.

We wish to acknowledge the financial and other support that is essential for programmes to work. At the same time we acknowledge that much of the work is thankless and voluntary. To those people we say thank you and wish to encourage you for further work. We continue to seek and invite more partners in these very noble endeavours.

To the organizers, I wish to congratulate you on the success of this Campaign.

I thank you.

Hon Saviour Kasukuwere 
Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment