Context: Zambia is largely a young population forming about 34.5 percent of the total population. According to the 2014 labour force, of the 3,812,923 youths in the labour force, 400,810 are unemployed representing a youth unemployment rate of 10.5 percent. The male youth unemployment rate is higher at 12.2 percent, while the female rate is at 9.1 percent. The rural youth unemployment rate is at 6.4 percent, compared to 15.2 urban youth unemployment rate. According to the Seventh National Development Plan, some challenges for youth face include youth delinquency, low levels of income among the youth, lack of access to quality health care and poor nutrition. Thus has created the need for the development of a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth through facilitating market-driven training and skills development. With the low absorptive capacity for TEVETA, government embarked on the establishment of vocational skills training centres countrywide.
Implementation of programme/ initiative: Lusaka Youth Resource Centre (formerly known as Kalingalinga Youth Resource Centre) is one of the 19 centers countrywide. The Centre is a government institution under the Ministry of Youth and Sport and Child development operating as a multi-purpose Youth Development Centre. The Centre, governed by government policy has a management advisory committee comprising of members from the community. It is also accredited to TEVETA and the Examination Council of Zambia who regulates the training and conduct examination. The Centre was initiated 2001 with the assistance of European Union under the Zambia Education Capacity Building Programme. Its vision is to provide youth empowerment services and produce self-reliant youths nationwide.
The Centre provides training based on sustainable social economic entrepreneurship, with the capacity to efficiently harness local resources for national development. It operates as a training institution offering courses in Food Production; General Hospitality; Power Electrical; Information Communication’s Technology, Designing, Cutting and Tailoring; Carpentry and Joinery; Metal Fabrication Family Life Education and Environmental Education. Other activities offered include peer education programs, Job on training, Micro Finance to graduates and skilled labor. The Centre targets young people aged 15 –35 years, who are either school leavers, dropped out of school of have never been to school.
Admission of the Centre is focused on school leavers, out of school youths, and those that have never been to school. The Centre has been a beneficiary of the Youth Development Fund grant, which is a government initiative set to empower youth programmes. The Centre receives an average of $14,400 annually from government as an operational grant, although the institution’s annual budget exceeds the amount hence they raise funds from income generating activities
Although the Centre has made strides in empowering youths, their efforts are hampered by insufficient financial resources to manage the growing needs for the programmes and inadequate space to accommodate youth from different parts of the country. Further, with the increased demand for skills training and empowerment from communities, the Centre remains challenged with insufficient human resource to manage various trainings.
Results achieved: In 2015, then Kalingalinga Youth Resource Centre was adopted as a model youth resource centre and renamed Lusaka Youth Resource Centre. Since its introduction of programmes in 2004, the Centre has made magnanimous strides in the enrolment of students and graduation, moving from 46 students (15 male, 1 female) in 2004 to 683 in 2017(307 males; 376 Females). To-date the Centre has trained 5,063 youth (2111 males and 2952 females). The Centre has also introduced an initiative where upon graduation students are given equipment, tools or materials as startup kit.
Moving Forward: With the continued growth, the Centre has embarked on a sustainable management program through operational fundraising initiatives. The Centre hopes to work closely with NGOs and civil society in advancing a youth sponsorship program attending to the under privileged youth’s school fees.
Replicability: The youth Centre continues to be a module for government’s involvement in youth empowerment and entrepreneurship programmes. The improved skill based modules and human resource development contributed to the growth and success of the Centre. With its growth and impact, there is a likely improvement for private sector participation’s in skills development for out-of-school youths. As government embarks on a replication of the Centre in other provinces, the rural youth will have an opportunity to improve their skills, develop their capacity and be empowered.
Date: September 11, 2017