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Enterprenuership, A Promise Ticket Out of Extreme Poverty and Unemplyment for Young People

Young people must awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship in their hearts as well as learn business skills to rescue themselves economically. Executive Director of Youth Partnership Countrywide (YPC), Israel Ilunde, made the call when speaking to this reporter on what can be done to improve and rescue youth economically.

Ilunde said that young people are facing a number of challenges economically, lack of business skills and entrepreneurial habits being some of them. Saying, “This hinders youth from exploring the benefits of the various opportunities available to them. Therefore, the spirit of entrepreneurship and business skills will empower them economically through exploring and effectively utilizing of the opportunities. ”

He, however, said that young people while awakening their spirit for entrepreneurial and business skills will need support. Urging, “While the youth are hardly looking for training opportunities, civil society organizations (CSOs) including youth groups should collaborate with the government and donor organizations, as well as other stakeholders, to support the accessibility of entrepreneurship education as well as business studies at affordable cost or if possible, free of charge.”

He directed youth to work hard and cultivate a volunteering spirit to develop their talents for employment as well as gain practical on-the-job experience.

Meanwhile, he emphasized the need for the government to improve infrastructure, social services as well as agriculture inputs in villages to discourage the migration of youth to urban areas. Saying, “Youth should rather use urban areas to exchange goods, money and skills for development.”

Speaking in separate interviews, youth had the same opinion that entrepreneurship and business skills are vital to set youth free from poverty.  Jeremia Sumari from Mbuyuni village, Arumeru District in Arusha said that youth need to be creative in exploring and utilizing every single opportunity coming along in order to reduce their vulnerability to poverty.

Nevertheless, another youth from Oljorovus village in Monduli District in Arusha, Elias Mbise criticized the government for neglecting youth especially those from rural areas, forcing many of them to migrate to urban areas seeking for a better life. He said, “As youth in villages, we lack education and have no access to loans. As a result we are becoming more exposed to poverty.”

And Thabita Emmanuel from Olarashi village in Monduli District insisted on the need for self-awareness and commitment among youth as a way to reduce hardship and ensure their development.

Despite the adaptation of the laws and policies regarding youth development, youth are still vulnerable and marginalized in the community.  They do not participate in decision making, do not have access to or ownership and control of resources something that undermines their livelihood. Lack of knowledge among youth has been observed to be a reason for this marginalization.

About 53% of the unemployed people in the country are young people and, thus, without stable livelihoods young people suffer from extreme poverty and social exclusion, often resulting in negative behaviour such as crime, risky sexual activities and drug abuse. On the other hand, this also has an effect to the government in a way the government misses tax, increase of crime activities as well as the increase of diseases especially sexual transmitted diseases. All of which will be a burden to the government. Conversely, youth entrepreneurship is an important, if not the most promising ticket out of extreme poverty and unemployment for young people.

However, one of the government objectives in 2012/12 budget in dealing with economic challenges is to deal with lack of employment opportunities especially to young people. In so, doing, training to young people especially on entrepreneur skills were given priority on the budget of year 2012/13 by both the ministry of employment and labour and the ministry of information, youth, culture and sports.

According to the minister of employment and labour, Hon, Gaudencia M. Kabaka, in her speech while presenting the 2012/13 budget of the ministry, in increasing job opportunities, one of the areas which is given priority in the budget is to ensure that public and private education institutes are proving trainings that equips job seekers especially youth with skills and experiences to easily be employed or employ themselves.

And, the minister of information, youth, culture and sports, Hon Dr. Fenella E. Mukangara, in her budget speech mentioned that among others, the ministry has planned to provide special but short training on self employment, confidence and entrepreneurs to the young people who completed their education.

Apart from the government, there are various non-governmental organizations aiming at empowering youth in the country, Tanzania Youth Development Association (TAYODEA) is one of them. The organization vision is to have the capacitated who are participating in social economic development activities. 

Mr. Sadiki Shembilu is the TAYODEA economic department Program Manager. He acknowledges the organization’s support to accessibility of entrepreneurship education to youth as one of their strategies to empower youth economically. Saying, “We provide free entrepreneurship education to youth to increase the number of youth with business and entrepreneurship skills and who will then be able to creatively and innovatively explore the available opportunities to earn income.”

Mr. Shembilu criticises education system of the country which does not equip youth with creativity and empower them to self-employment.  Suggesting, “Entrepreneurship education should be included in the education curriculum in all levels of education as well as introduction of incubation program for free business advice in secondary schools and tertiary institutions.  This will empower youth to explore the vast available opportunities that can provide employment to them.”

Nonetheless, he said that before providing entrepreneurship education, they firstly identify opportunities available in the area where a youth is living through discussing with them on what are the opportunities in the area, what hinders them from exploring and utilizing the opportunities and finally, suggesting ways forward to overcome the challenges and thus, give them a chance to create a project so as to effectively make use of the potential opportunities identified.

He further mentioned WAVUMA in handeni Tanga, as an example of the program which provides entrepreneurship skills especially to women. The program has the targets of 400 young girls in the district. It not only empowers them through entrepreneurship education but also, encourage self awareness to decrease dependence.

Internationally, there are some of the countries mentioned to have being doing great in their strategies to empower youth, Canada being one of them. With the youth employment strategy, the country has specifically introduced youth entrepreneurship programmes, education, entrepreneurship training and financing.

And, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) ranking of the countries with respect to the development enterprises and entrepreneurship uptake, Canada has improved its ranking from 16 to 13 in comparison with other countries in the world. The GEM also indicates that young people in Canada from the age of 25-34category started 15.8%of opportunity-based and 28% of necessity based businesses.

As the developing country, India through the ministry of youth affairs has developed the national youth policy (2003-2008) that shapes youth economic development and specifies programs in regards. One of the strategies that embedded with the policy is that of Rural Non-Farm Sector (RNFS) that focuses on rural and tribal youth, out-of-school youth and youth with disabilities.

The RNFS has provided support to agricultural sectors through incentives for increasing productivity and savings as well as instruments to improve technologies and modernize inputs. It also, created enterprises opportunities for youth in sectors such as mining food processing, forestry and traditional industries. It also provides program on skills development with particular focus on entrepreneurship development, education and training, managerial and technical skills.

Furthermore, business development services (BDS) forms an important element of enterprise development within RNFS. The programs and interventions facilitated India’s achievement on youth economic empowerment and to occupy GEM 2008 ranking as 6 in the world.

And in 2005, Uganda was ranked number 2 in term of GEM 2005 report as the result of the priority the country had given on youth economic development. Uganda has established a Youth Enterprise Scheme, a non financial instrument, aimed at providing business development support services for the aspirant youth entrepreneurs and already operating businesses owned by youth.

From Integrated Labour Force Survey (ILFS) 2000/01 people aged between 15 and 35 makes more than 65% of the country’s labour force. However, the majority of them are unemployed and thus less utilization of this potential labour force. Besides, they will not be able to contribute in the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Last but yet importantly, increase of crimes and sexual transmitted diseases will challenge the government.

Unless strategic, practical and deliberately actions are taken by the government and other stakeholders to overcome youth vulnerability to extreme poverty, the government will not overcome such a heavy burden.
The government should now start putting into implementation different policies that have been established and adopted basically for youth development. A national Youth development Policy 2007 has an objective of facilitating youth to acquire skills and competence for employment. If well emphasized and give priority, it may give a chance to many youth to be creative in developing the spirit of self employment rather than waiting to be employed.

Source: http://youthndvl.blogspot.com/