US$2m for women, youths

Sharon Munjenjema
Government has released US$2 million to fund businesses run by women and youths.

The Women’s Development Fund is administering US$1,5 million while the Zimbabwe Community Development Fund manages the balance.

A team of trainers will mobilise prospective beneficiaries in coming days, with screening following soon after.

The initiative also has youths running projects at vocational training centres partnering established firms, and women’s savings/credit clubs being transformed into co-operatives.

Zimbabwe has 110 000 such clubs.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Women and Youth Affairs Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said the financing fed into President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 100-day economic turnaround plan.

“(Women) will not be given cash without proof that their respective businesses are viable and well-organised. From Monday, January 15 2018, we are training trainers starting with the southern region — Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South. These trainers will be trained on (how the initiative is being co-ordinated). They will then go out there to mobilise people and to formalise them.”

Regarding savings clubs, she said, “Right now, women are saving their money collectively just for consumption. So, we are saying they need to transform that from savings for consumption to savings for investment or for assets.

“Once they are co-operatives, they will be able to bank their money. They will be serviced much easily with the Women’s Bank if they become co-operatives and not clubs. The Women’s Bank is scheduled to be launched next month under the ministry’s 100-day plan.”

She said the ministry was prioritising youth employment and would bolster entrepreneurial skills development via VTCs. “We have encouraged vocational training centres to enter joint ventures with companies. One of them is Kaguvi, which was assisted by Dendairy. They were running a dairy farm in the Midlands.

“Other vocational training centres across the country will follow suit within the prescribed 100 days. We encourage young people to create employment for themselves and others.

“No one out there is waiting to employ them. Times have changed; it’s time to instill in them (a sense) that they just need to be given the means of production for them to create their own employment.”

The Women’s Development Fund was introduced in 2010, and US$245 000 was disbursed in 2013; and US$350 000 in 2014. US$300 000 was allocated in 2016 but was not disbursed.

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