Ministry mulls reintroducing National Youth Service to combat drug abuse

To prevent young people from abusing drugs and other substances, the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training is mulling reintroducing the National Youth Service.

This was revealed by Youth Minister Tino Machakaire, who stated that his ministry is developing a national orientation manual to be used across all provinces.

This manual aims to keep young people away from drug and substance abuse.

Machakaire explained that a proposed Youth Bill would address the increasing issue of drug and substance abuse among youth, while the National Youth Service Training program would keep them engaged.

“The National Youth Service Training will involve youth orientation for life skills, self-sustenance, and participation in the Youth Build Zimbabwe Programme,” he said in Parliament recently. “Under this program, young people are encouraged to participate in the development of their communities through construction and rehabilitation of schools, clinics, and other infrastructure. This program keeps them engaged and away from drug and substance abuse.”

Machakaire also stated that challenges stemming from drug and substance abuse, such as vandalism, indiscipline, and other youth delinquencies, would be addressed through intensive education initiatives.

“The Ministry is looking to begin training for the National Youth Service. To this end, it is developing a national orientation manual to be used in all provinces to keep youth away from drug and substance abuse,” said Machakaire.

The Youth Bill is expected to provide mechanisms for facilitating the mainstreaming of youth in social, economic, and political spaces.

Machakaire stated that the Youth Bill, drafted and submitted to the Attorney-General’s office on August 15, 2022, was resubmitted with instructions on February 1, 2024, after follow-ups.

“The Ministry is confident that the Bill will be sent to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and to Cabinet for consideration by the end of February 2024,” said the Minister.

Machakaire added that other existing programs include the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC), which provides education and awareness campaigns against drug and substance abuse to youth through youth associations regulated by the ZYC.

“Additionally, there is mainstreaming of youth programming by regulating National Youth Associations with the ZYC for engagement in youth programs,” Machakaire explained, adding that Vocational Training Centres also provide competency-based training to youth, integrating entrepreneurship and business.

“According to the Youth Ministry, over 75,000 young people to date have been empowered by the skills training initiatives undertaken by the Ministry,” he stated. “The decentralisation drive will ensure all young people and communities have skills that are underpinned with the entrepreneurial spirit.”

Regarding youth empowerment, Machakaire mentioned a Micro Bank that will provide funding for youth projects, keeping them occupied and off the streets.

“The Ministry, through the Youth Fund, offers project loans to young individuals and groups for youth empowerment,” he claimed.

The National Youth Service was launched in 2000 as an initiative by the late former Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation Minister Border Gezi.

It was suspended in 2028 before being brought back in 2021 and was criticized as a potential campaign strategy by the ruling Zanu PF party ahead of the 2023 elections.

The program was known for producing graduates known as the “green bombers” who allegedly engaged in harmful activities during past elections.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button