Written by Dyson Kamwana:
Over 70 out-of-school youths in Nkhotakota district have been awarded certificates of completion following a one-year informal training in various vocational skills through the Youth Employability Scheme (YES) project, funded by the Foundation for Community and Capacity Development (FOCCAD).
According to FOCCAD’s Programs Manager Agness Manda, the youths are from the areas of Traditional Authorities (T/As) Mwansambo and Malangachanzi in the Lakeshore district.
Manda expressed that the organization’s goal is to foster a community environment where youths can become self-reliant, irrespective of their education and financial backgrounds.
She added that besides providing continuous monitoring and mentorship to the awardees, FOCCAD has facilitated the creation of 28 business groups which have received startup tool kits to promote a collective business mindset.
“We have provided startup tool kits to the youths because we cannot just train and let them stay at home. We want them to utilize the skills through the startup tool kits provided to all 28 business groups that are already in operation,” Manda explained.
She also revealed plans for additional programs beyond vocational skills.
Nkhotakota District Youth Officer, Aberson Mwale, commended FOCCAD for its significant contribution to job creation, while urging the youths to diligently utilize the opportunity and contribute to job creation for their fellow youths.
Mwale highlighted that the government is encouraging youths to form small industries producing various items for local and international markets as it believes, will help the country generate income and forex.
He encouraged awardees to use his office to register with youth associations, saying this would enable them to obtain a Technical and Vocation Training Authority (TEVETA) certificate, facilitating easier access to business opportunities.
“We are collaborating with TEVETA and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to help registered youths in technical skills receive grants and tool kits. This will assist in equipping fellow youths with technical skills, hence urging them to register with relevant associations,” he stated.
Shadreck Phaso, one of the beneficiaries, expressed gratitude for the FOCCAD initiative, noting that it would positively transform their lives.
“I’m delighted for the training that I participated in during the past 12 months organized by FOCCAD. I have gained skills that will transform my life,” Phaso said.
With financial support from Tools for Self-Reliance, the youths underwent training in various categories, including tailoring and designing, carpentry and joinery, welding and fabrication, and motorbike repair under the Youth Employability Scheme (YES).