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critical review of the national youth service programme in Zimbabwe
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
December 30, 2011
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Youth Service Programme in Zimbabwe has attracted attention and
criticism from various actors across the globe. It is these criticisms
that have necessitated a reflection on the programme under the new
political dispensation of the Global
Political Agreement which acknowledges the importance of the
programme and the need for its review. The overall objective of
the research is to provide key policy makers with valuable insights
and recommendations on a credible National Youth Service framework
that prepares the youth for a productive adulthood within the context
of a wider National Youth Policy. The specific objectives are to:
- Review the
focus and framework of the current national youth service policy
analyze strengths and weaknesses of the current National Youth
- Gather recommendations
from youth organizations on an effective National Youth Service
policy in Zimbabwe.
Data for this
paper was gathered through: documents review; consultative meetings;
key informant interviews; focus group discussions observation during
consultative workshops and focus group discussions. Data was analysed
according to categories/themes of information gathered.
highlight the fact that the strength of the programme lie in the
fact that the programme is provided for by the law; that there is
a policy guiding the programme; that the objectives of the programme
are clearly stated; that the programme itself is a noble one; that
the programme is linked to job opportunities in the public service
and that it offers life skills training. Weaknesses cited by respondents
include the following: that the language used is subject to manipulation;
that recruitment was done through district party (ZANU PF) office;
that the curriculum discriminated against the marginalized and other
interest groups; thatthere was a militarized style of running the
programme; allegations of sexual and drug abuse and that the programme
was under funded which led to the elite shunning it; that the training
was not targeted and the absence of exit opportunities.
Due to the experiences
discussed above, the following major recommendations are made: There
is need for the adoption of the African Youth Charter definition
of youth (15-35) when recruiting youth for NYS. NYS, as a national
programme should be publicized, with outreaches done for the wider
community to appreciate its value.
A multi sectoral
approach needs to be adopted where all sectors of society focus
on and actively support (financially and otherwise) the implementation
of the NYSP.
There is need
to constitute an independent commission should facilitate the delivery
of the curriculum with guidance from the two ministries of education.
Professional experts are supposed to be identified by the commission
to design and deliver the publicly accepted curriculum with input
coming from young people and other stakeholders.
There is need
for exit opportunities for graduates. NYS should have an implementation
and monitoring and evaluation plan. There is also need for mainstreaming
and institutionalising NYS and extending the ambit of youth and
community service so that all interested young people, including
the marginalised and other interest groups have the opportunity
NYS needs to
be voluntary for some time until a conducive environment and political
will permits the programme to be compulsory.
There is need
to make funding available to ensure that the programme is successful
in terms of what it is supposed to achieve. Proper and adequate
infrastructure has to be developed for effective implementation
of the programme. There is also need to introduce productive activities
such as agriculture at training centres which will ensure supply
of produce as well as income for the camp.
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