Friday, May 23, 2008

Govt to evaluate ZNS rehabilitation programme for street children

Govt to evaluate ZNS rehabilitation programme for street children
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday May 23, 2008 [04:00]

GOVERNMENT will this July evaluate the Zambia National Service (ZNS) rehabilitation programme for street children to see if it has served the intended purpose, sports deputy minister Angela Cifire has said. In an interview, Cifire said the evaluation would give an indication on how the government had faired with the strategy to rehabilitate street children.

She said the problem with the previous intake where some children ran away from the camps and some who sold their starter kits could be as a result of the non-availability of an exit strategy at the time.

"This is the second intake and at the moment the intake that we have has very few children that have run away. Maybe they run away because they don't fully understand what the camp is all about and what they are going to gain from it. What we are working on right now is an exit strategy that we want to disseminate to the others that have not gone there," she said.

Cifire said the exit strategy would look at how youths would sustain themselves once they got out of the camp. She said there was also land available for those who had acquired skills in agriculture so that they could continue practicing what they had learnt.

She also said there were other co-operating partners that had offered to employ some of the youths after they graduate. Cifire said the children were being encouraged to form youth cooperatives.

Cifire, who emphasised the importance of personal development, said the driving force to develop should be within the youths themselves.

From 2005 to 2006, about 204 children graduated from the ZNS Kitwe and Chiwoko camps. The children, who were trained in skills such as carpentry and gardening, were given some starter kits to help them start earning a living but some of them have since sold them on grounds that they need money to survive.

Some of these children are back on the streets. For the 2007 programme, there were currently 388 children being trained out of the 434 that were enrolled from all provinces.

According to ZNS camp deputy commandant Major John Mwanza, 46 children, mainly from Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces, had deserted the camp as at September last year.

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