Nesia Mhaka Correspondent
Young people in Goromonzi district have ventured into the production of face masks to help curb the spread of Covid-19, as well as to improve their employment prospects.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had utmost effects on health systems of many countries especially in Africa. The pandemic threatens the economic outlook with adverse effects in the labour market, depending on whether countries are on partial or extreme lockdown.
Young people are the most affected, as private sector companies continue to reduce the labour force due to increased production costs and reduced demand of products and services. This has caused a decline in revenues.
As many youths grapple with the unprecedented effects of the pandemic, young people in Goromonzi, in ward 24 have taken advantage of the crisis to make face masks.
The masks are made from cotton and nylon drapery collected from left-over fabrics in Ruwa.
The innovative idea of making masks was conceived by youths after a business opportunity identification session offered under, the Business Life Skills (BLS) training offered by Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) Zimbabwe in partnership with the Swiss Development Cooperative (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida).
The training are being offered by Women in Agriculture (WiA) which are the local service provider for SNV Zimbabwe working to provide employment opportunities for youths aged between 18-35 years in Goromonzi district.
Speaking during a recent tour of the youth project SNV Country MEAL and Communications Advisor Mr Thando Nkomo said it was necessary to promote youth self-employment and entrepreneurship to mitigate the economic crisis brought by Covid-19 pandemic.
“Young people, were already hardest hit by unemployment and under-employment in normal times and they require extra attention during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Nkomo said his organisation will continue to undertake specific actions to support youths’ employment in Zimbabwe.
He added that offering skills development to the youth during hard-times was critical in maximising opportunities for them and generate employment growth.
“As SNV we are going to develop strategies and specific country initiatives to improve the employment prospects of vulnerable young men and women.
“This encompasses general socio-economic and rural development projects that targeted the youths and directly address youth’s employment needs.”
He added that different youth groups across the country are currently undergoing technical training in solar marketing and they anticipate using money from this occupation to grow their sewing business.
Sewing group leader Miss Tatenda Mataya (22) said the project was a way of assisting their parents to support families.
“We ventured into this programme after realising that our parents are struggling to survive during this lockdown. We decided to seize the moment to make affordable masks that would augment family budgets. We produce an average of 50 masks a day, with each mask being sold for USD 0.50,” she said.
Miss Mataya said that fighting Covid-19 needs a joined approach and as youths they are playing their role through manufacturing of face masks.
She also urged other young people to join and work together with the team to produce masks.