Building a future with decent work for youth

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Planning Workshop 2014

International Labour Organization, held a two day meeting, from the 6th to 7th of January 2014. The planning meeting for the Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development Programme was held in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

The aim of the meeting was to provide an update to partners on the status of the programme, share some of the lessons learnt and discuss emerging good practices. District and provincial work plans for 2014 were to be developed, as well as develop and agree on the monitoring and evaluation tools for the planned activities. In attendance were Government officials - national and district representation -, trade unions, employers and civil society organizations.

The Provincial Administrator for Manicaland welcomed the participants, he expressed his support and appreciation for the programme. He emphasized the importance of local ownership and involvement of stakeholders. "This meeting provides an opportunity to engage partners to come up with concrete strategies and recommendations that will guide successful implementation of youth employment programmes" he said.

The opening session of the meeting was graced by Mr Masanga, Acting Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment. Mr Masanga commended the ILO for supporting the Government of Zimbabwe's efforts to create employment. "The Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development Programme, has helped to demonstrate a working model for combating youth unemployment which government and its social partners can replicate" he said. Mr Masanga acknowledged that the programme had promoted innovative ways of expanding technical and vocational skills development targeting out-of-school youth. "By developing demand driven technical and vocational training in under-served rural communities and upgrading existing informal apprenticeships that will result in the creation of either wage or self-employment" he continued.

The Acting Permanent Secretary urged ILO to complement the support of the National Steering Committee (NSC) and the respective District Implementation Committees (DICs) by reviving the Technical Working Group, sharing the progress report on the micro credit scheme and strengthening the programme monitoring and evaluation system.

A representative of MicroKing shared how the programme's microfinance component is working while SNV presented on the new Solar Energy project which will be implemented across ten districts. The planning session of the meeting saw national, provincial leaders and district youth officials interacting and drafting district work plans. The work plans were influenced by the proposals from District Implementation Committees. The draft plans were presented in plenary and benefited from inputs made by technical experts who were in attendance.

The district plans proposed a raft of measures to improve the management of project funds, selection of service providers and beneficiaries. It was acknowledged that communication with project beneficiaries and government ministries had to be improved. The district teams also devised means to help young people improve the quality of their project proposals. This would help the programme as it moves away from "simply counting number of beneficiaries to a greater focus on impact of the intervention".

The programme implementation team was also encouraged to continue to explore strategies to derive maximum value from the programme budget. The team was also tasked to assess the effectiveness of the various committees at district level as well as reviving the Technical Working Group. The team was also encouraged to increase their efforts in terms of providing market linkages for young entrepreneurs.

In the Closing Session, Mr. Chinomwe of the ILO challenged participants to examine why some projects were doing better than others. He exhorted all actors to continuously engage in introspection, share information widely and emulate strategies that have been proven to be successful. Mr Masanga closed the meeting by thanking all participants for their inputs. He expressed his hope that the meeting's recommendations would be adopted.