AS we celebrate the festive season, it is always wise to remember that there is more to life than festive seasons, let us enjoy celebrate responsibly and reflect on our achievements and challenges for the past year.
Last week, we started looking at some of the 2013 challenges that youths faced and some of the suggestions on how well these challenges could have been tackled. This week we will continue to list more of these challenges.
Leisure, recreation, and community service
Leisure, recreation and community service are important for the psychological and physical development of the youth. It contributes to their personal development by promoting good health, personal discipline, leadership and team building skills. It also provides an opportunity for appreciation, participation and creative experience in leisure, music, art, dance, drama crafts, novelty events service and cultural activities.
This also helps engaging the youth to make good use of their leisure time, express their beliefs and values as well as promote and preserve local art and culture for the benefit of the future youth.
However, current investment in leisure and recreation is yet to reach most provinces in Zambia. At the moment, the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka is trying to carter for this challenge.
More funding is needed in this sector through the Ministry of Youth and Sport to help cast the net wide throughout the country in terms of facilities. There is definitely need for more recreation centres.
This will help not only allow talented youths who have to have access to these facilities for their improvement but will also allow organisations that need the services of these youths to reach them easily.
Information and Communication Technology
Just a few weeks ago, this column carried an article about a project called SOFIA which is helping in the uplifting of youths through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in agriculture.
The world has now gone sophisticated but at the same time made things easy through the use of ICTs. This is the most powerful tool for social and economic change. Rapid and continuing growth and development in ICT is transforming the ways in which youth live and work.
Using internet for example, youths can get access to both domestic and international education and job opportunities online. They can also share interests with peers.
However, youths need guidance on this tool because to some, it has become a foe and not a friend.
It is not strange that some youths have not even accessed any form of ICTs and this lack of access to information, especially in rural areas, has made it difficult for youths to exploit their careers, business and education opportunities.
There is need for youths to take advantage and benefits of local programmes and initiatives that are promoting and are associated with ICTs to foster youth development.
Access to Financial Resources
Traditional financial institutions have avoided lending to youths due to their relative inability to comply with the high transaction costs, difficulty in assessing and managing their risk profile, and lack of the required financial documentation as well as collateral.
The Ministry of Youth and Sport, has, however, strived to find ways and means of funding youth oriented projects through initiatives like the Youth Development Fund and the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Fund (CEEC).
These funds have been specifically tailored to enhance the youth to develop with focus on self employment via entrepreneurship initiatives.
Youth can access these funds either as individuals or as groups and the collateral to secure the monies borrowed have been made affordable in the sense that they can be in form of group guarantee, or and even community leaders.
To access, these funds, the youth should also show that their projects are going to benefit other youths in terms of job creation and participation.
With these challenges highlighted and tackled, it is hoped that the youth in Zambia will be able to work towards the realisation of their life.
I just want to say a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year to all the readers, especially those who contributed to the column. I would also like to single out Winston Muleba Junior who has been more than an ardent follower of the column.