Ranson Madzamba Correspondent
Last week was unique for the people of Chambuta in Chiredzi, Masvingo Province.
They witnessed a rare incident that has never happened to them since Zimbabwe attained her independence.
The First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa spent two nights interacting with the society and vulnerable children at Chambuta Children’s Home. She gave up the comfort of State House and decided to spend two nights deep down in Chambuta.
She proved to the majority that she is a loving and caring mother of the nation.
They are very few people of her stature who can spend more than a day in a village far away from the towns and even far away from their homes all in the name of helping the vulnerable young people of the country. Mai Mnangagwa is in her own league.
She is humble and down to earth when it comes to matters of empowering the youth and the vulnerable. She is the brains behind the creation of Chambuta Children’s Home.
In 2019, the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation came on board to work with the First Lady to capacitate vulnerable youths at Chambuta and the whole society at large. Last week, Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Dr Kirsty Coventry, her deputy Tino Machakaire and the permanent secretary Dr Thokozile Chitepo were in Chambuta with the First Lady mapping and laying out their strategy on how Chambuta Children’s Home can be of value to children at the centre and the society as a whole.
The children at the home are not going to grow old at the centre, but are rather going to be empowered with life skills that include motor mechanics, building, hospitality and agriculture. There shall come a time when the children will be released to work for themselves using skills acquired at the home.
This would be good for their own survival and that of the nation at large. Life will never be the same for the kids who once survived on the streets, begging for food and without place to call home.
The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation is thus going to make sure there is going to be an operational Vocational Training Centre (VTC) at the home. The VTC shall be of great significance to the children at the home as well as those youth around Chambuta.
In its bid to turn sport and arts sectors into vibrant creative industries, the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation is going to construct a multi-purpose arts and culture gazebo. Processes to have the gazebo are actually at higher level as the relevant authorities have been approached. The arts sector will never be the same for the Chambuta community.
Also of great significance is that the ministry is going to construct a multi-purpose court as well as refurbish the football pitch at Chambuta. The move was greatly welcome by the community that is rich in sport and arts people. There is going to be a new-look Chambuta.
The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation besides its recent empowerment move at Chambuta, is also running youth empowerment programmes around the country. It is ione of the beneficiaries of the Youth and Women Empowerment Programme which is being implemented in Zimbabwe with the support from African Development Bank (AfDB).
The main objective of the project is to contribute towards the improvement of livelihoods of the youth and women through the development of economic opportunities.
The project is delivered through enterprise development, income-generating projects and institutional support. The Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation relates to three components which are:
Food value addition and enterprise development with two sub components:
Support for the horticulture and honey value chains development units,
Support for enterprise development,
Institutional capacity strengthening,
The ministry is implementing component 1 of the project on food value addition and enterprise development with technical assistance from International Labour Organisation. The ministry’s is establishing a fruit and vegetable processing hub in Mutoko. The hub is aimed at enhancing participation of youth along the horticulture value chain.
The expected outcome of the intervention towards the horticulture value chain is to create employment opportunities for youths in the targeted districts of Mutoko and Murehwa in Mashonaland East Province.
However, many other employment opportunities will also be created along the broader horticulture value chain that will benefit youth outside the indicated target districts. The outcomes will be achieved through the establishment of a horticulture processing hub and market linkages for youth products.
The establishment of the Mutoko fruit and vegetable hub by the ministry is an intervention aimed at enhancing youth participation in the mainstream economy through putting in place key infrastructure and provision of critical business support services.
The choice of horticulture sector was inspired by the need to tackle post-harvest losses that are incurred by horticulture farmers due to limited access to markets as well as bad agricultural practices.
The main objectives for the establishment of the fruit and vegetable processing hub are:
To create employment opportunities for youths along the agro-processing value chain,
To facilitate creation of markets and market linkages for fruits and vegetables produced by young farmers in Mashonaland East,
To penetrate the fruits and vegetable export market,
To increase income levels for young farmers in Mutoko district and Mashonaland East at large,
To reduce post-harvest losses in the horticulture sub-sector,
To reduce fruits and vegetables imports,
To facilitate meaningful participation of youth in growth sectors.
The fruit and vegetable processing hub has two components, namely the packaging house and tomato processing plant. The hub will provide a direct market for the youth in horticulture, eliminating the transportation challenges for the farmers. Achieving Vision 2030 is a reality with such great moves coming from the Government.
Ranson Madzamba is the Acting Deputy Director Communication and Advocacy for the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.