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Foreign, Local Partners Boost Skills of 12,000 Zimbabwe Youth

  • Gibbs Dube

Rudo Mazhandu grew a successful soap-making business following training through Zimbabwe:Works.

Since January 2015, over 12,000 Zimbabwean youths have benefited from expanded economic opportunities through the second phase of the Zimbabwe:Works project.

The Zimbabwe:Works project is supported through funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

In a statement, these organizations said the project, implemented by the International Youth Foundation, strengthens local non-governmental and private sector organizations to provide training services and products to increase employment opportunities for young Zimbabweans.

This alliance, called Zimbabwe:Works, is in its second phase and seeks to assist 22,000 youth to acquire entrepreneurship skills, gain valuable job experience and build professional networks between January 2015 and December 2017.

“This partnership builds on the initial success of the first phase of the project, implemented from 2012 to 2014. The second phase of Zimbabwe:Works has provided 8,500 young people with entrepreneurship and business skills and trained 3,700 youth in financial literacy.

“About half of those trained in financial literacy subsequently accessed loans from microfinance institutions to start or expand their businesses, resulting in net profits of over $12 million.”

USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director Stephanie Funk stated, "Zimbabwe:Works has achieved impressive results in a shrinking economy that is increasingly informal. The activity has made a notable difference in the lives of thousands of Zimbabwean youth – the majority of them women."

Annabel Gerry, Head of DFID Zimbabwe, said "I am proud of the UK’s support to the young people of Zimbabwe, making sure that they have jobs and increased incomes in the future.”

Maria Selin, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden, noted, "Zimbabwe:Works has prepared thousands of Zimbabwean youth for productive careers. We believe that partnerships and investments that can bring young people – and in particular young women – into the productive sectors are incredibly important for the economic and social development of any society.”

The International Youth Foundation, in partnership with local Zimbabwean organizations, implements the Zimbabwe:Works program in eleven areas: Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Harare (including Chitungwiza), Kadoma, Masvingo, Mutare, Goromonzi, Bubi, Umzingwane, and Lupane.

For more than 30 years, the American people, through USAID, have contributed over $3 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe. Current projects include initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and promote a more democratic system of governance.

DFID Zimbabwe works to deliver a more democratic, stable and prosperous Zimbabwe, focusing on helping the country’s poorest people. Key priorities are:

  • Providing infrastructure, assets, finance, skills and access to markets needed for people to earn enough money to meet their basic needs
  • Improving access to health, water and sanitation, and education
  • Helping to strengthen democracy and improve the way the economy and public finances are managed by the Government of Zimbabwe to support both economic development and poverty reduction.

Sweden’s annual support to Zimbabwe amounts to $20-25 million. The support primarily aims to build institutional transparency, enhance human rights & gender equality and to improve economic opportunities for women and youths. Another substantial part of the support aims to enable vulnerable groups' and children’s access to social services.

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