Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Zambia needs youth mentorship programme, says Nawakwi
By Ernest Chanda
Mon 20 May 2013, 14:01 CAT

EDITH Nawakwi says Zambia needs a serious mentorship programme where the youth can be empowered with knowledge and survival skills. And Nawakwi on Friday announced the death of her mother.

Nawakwi, the opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) leader, has been on a countrywide mentorship programme for the youth. Her party has come up with a programme called Neighbour's Friend, through which she is training the youth in entrepreneurship.

And on Tuesday last week, Nawakwi mentored five Copperbelt University forestry graduates.

"Given an opportunity to be in office, our idea is to create income at household level. It's through starting a project like this that the youth can create income for the future because tree planting is one of the few lucrative agriculture jobs. So, mentorship is part of the FDD's empowerment programmes," she said in an interview.

"So what we have managed to do through the party is to organise for them to go for actual practical work. They'll go with their own seedlings and they'll be assisted on doing that because they'll find someone who is a practitioner. So, in about six months' time, they will be delivering the seed to the customer. We are importing the seedlings from Vietnam. These are graduates in one field, forestry; it's not a single job for them anywhere."

She appealed for government support to the programme so that more youths could be empowered.

"At least I know that this programme can grow. And when you as government say 'let us work together with political parties', this is one programme where the government can come to this secretariat and say 'we have money for youth enterprise, how much does the FDD want? How many people are benefiting?' We are not saying they should bring money to the secretariat, no, but to the association," said Nawakwi.

"They have now gotten to a position where they have an order for 50,000 plants through us here worth K120 million (KR120,000). The curriculum at the university as usual is white collar; they have nowhere to get practical experience. We've done the talking, we need someone to incubate them and then release them."

Meanwhile, on Friday, Nawakwi wrote on her facebook page: "Friends, it is with a heavy heart and deep sorrow that I announce the passing away of my dear mother. Kindly remember us in your prayers during this tragic time."

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