FAO Green Jobs Initiative Empowers Rural Youth in Zimbabwe

FAO Green Jobs Initiative Empowers Rural Youth in Zimbabwe

Harare, 10 June 2024 — The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe and the Korea International Cooperation Agency, has completed the Green Jobs for Rural Youth Employment learning event.

The event came after a four-and-a-half-year project focused on creating decent, sustainable employment opportunities for rural youth. The project is part of FAO's Strategic Framework 2022–2031, aligned to Zimbabwe's National Development Strategy 1, as well as the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. It provides that for each goal and target, youth should comprise a significant portion of the beneficiaries so that nobody is left behind. The projects will seek to achieve inclusive, sustainable agrifood systems, resilient changes emanating from climate change, and assure sustainable natural resource management.

The keynote address to all the delegates was presented by the honorable K. Mupamhanga, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Youth, Empowerment Development, and Vocational Training. In his address, he touched on issues related to commitment to youth empowerment, which clearly shows that Zimbabwe is prepared to see its youthful populace prosper. He also emphasized that the FAO was critical in pushing for youth participation in farming. It has since established an Agricultural Youth Desk under the ministry to help the youth access vital resources, training, and opportunities that will ensure their success in Zimbabwe's agricultural sector. Hon. He added that there was also the National Youth Policy aiming at developing an enabling environment that would support entrepreneurship, vocational training, and social development to free the immense potential of the young citizens. To counter the harmful effects of drug and substance abuse among the youth, he announced the formation of a Drugs and Substance Abuse Steering Committee to champion youth participation in meaningful agricultural activities.

Project Achievement and Prospects

The event showcased the achievements of the project and the changes that had been brought into the rural youths' lives. The YBUs, on the other hand, have proved very successful in empowering young people to be self-sustaining and economically independent. Success stories were shared from Mount Darwin and Rushinga, and FAO was invited to commission these YBUs on June 19th, 2024. Over 80 key stakeholders, including Youth project participants, took the chance to share experiences, lessons learned, and best practices. The bottom line of the consensus was that no development could be achieved if it was not a collective effort. Such an event's structure made it possible to address the issues of empowering project implementation, developing national policies that would contribute to strengthening enabling environments and involving the legal and regulatory framework to enhance sustainable projects.

Closing Remarks Highlighted Further Commitment

In his closing remarks, Mr. N. Kajengo—Programmes Coordinator Agric Youth Desk—thanked partners and stakeholders committed to the project. He emphasized that the journey to green jobs and the empowerment of rural youth had just begun with this event. There was a call for commitment towards documentation of best practices coupled with green job opportunities being availed to other rural youths all around Zimbabwe.

Appreciation and Forward-Looking Statements

The meeting was finalized with some special acknowledgments being made to KOICA, the Government of Zimbabwe, and all implementing partners for their relentless support and dedication. The Programmes Coordinator of the Agric Youth Desk took to the podium at the same function and responded similarly, reiterating the ministry's commitment to sustainable development, which had set a solid base through continuous efforts in strengthening youth empowerment and rural development of the country. This has set a solid base for sustainable development in Zimbabwe. By imparting these skills and providing opportunities to rural youth, the initiative significantly contributes to the development goals of the country and the overall global agenda for sustainability.


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