Friday, October 23, 2009

Barclays Bank, UNICEF launch global partnership

Barclays Bank, UNICEF launch global partnership
By Sydney Mungala in Samfya
Fri 23 Oct. 2009, 04:00 CAT

BARCLAYS Bank southern Africa managing director Zafar Masud has observed that although young people are extremely vulnerable they possess great potential for the country’s future.

And acting science and technology minister Ronald Mukuma has challenged corporate entities to not only train youths but help them apply what they learn after they graduate.

During the launch of Barclays-UNICEF global partnership, which seeks to empower young people in Zambia, Masud said the partnership would help vulnerable young people to improve their lives with access to education and entrepreneurship skills.

“Although young people are an extremely vulnerable group they also possess great potential. Therefore, the new partnership dubbed Building Young Futures will help vulnerable young people improve their lives with access to education, jobs, and opportunities for enterprise and entrepreneurship,” said Masud in Samfya on Wednesday.

Masud said the project reflected a shift from pure donations in corporate philanthropy to combining social investment with long-term business opportunities.

The five million pounds global project, spread over a period of three years, forms part of the five-year US $150 million Banking on Brighter Futures community investment.

And Mukuma said the youths needed help after graduating from training institutions to implement the skills acquired.
“…Institutions like Barclays should not just end at training these youths in centres but ensure that they are helped to implement what they learnt in these centres,” he said.

Mukuma said it was also important for corporate entities like Barclays to extend loan facilities to graduating youths from skills training centres.
However, Mukuma lauded Barclays Bank Zambia for the support and implored other entities to follow suit.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country representative Lotta Sylwander disclosed that 600 youths had so far been trained in entrepreneurship skills this year.

The four centres earmarked to benefit are Katembula in Ndola, Kaoma Youth Resource Centre, Timba in Chinsali and another centre in Samfya.

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