Zambia’s youth have continued to face not only high unemployment rates, but also poor quality education, teenage pregnancies and early marriages. Fackson Shamenda (Zambia’s labour and social security minister) says the country’s young people are critical for development objectives; however, work is being done to increase employment for Zambia’s youth.

Promoting Equality Among Zambia’s Employed Youth

Launched in 2013, Impact Enterprises was Zambia’s first digital outsourcing company with a mission to provide the country’s youth with digital jobs. The company soon found that in group settings, young Zambian women were afraid to share their opinions among male coworkers. In June 2015, Impact Enterprises launched Ladies of Victory and Encouragement (LOVE), a support group for its female employees.

By July 2015, LOVE helped the company’s female employees become more confident in participating amongst male workers. One of the employees, Debra, said that LOVE restored the energy she used to have in secondary school. In January 2016, Dimitri Zakharov (CEO of Impact Enterprises) said the LOVE support group significantly strengthened the company’s employees and services.

Zambia’s Action Plan For Unemployed Youth

In March 2016, Zambia’s government developed an action plan to increase employment for Zambia’s youth. These are some of the action plan’s objectives:

  • Make youth employment a strategic target for developing Zambia’s economy.
  • Rejuvenate the dynamism of the local labour markets by enhancing the quality of Zambia’s graduate programs and students’ skills.
  • Ensure full participation of Zambia’s young men and women in the design and planning of youth-centred interventions.

Jerry Sakala (patron of Zambia’s U.N. Youth Association) said that for strides of addressing unemployed youth to be meaningful, strong and coordinated responses will be required from both Zambia’s stakeholders and its youth. “This multi-sectoral approach will ensure that programmes and activities to empower and create employment opportunities for the youth are mainstreamed across all sectors,” said Sakala.

A Young Zambian Entrepreneur Employs 50 People

For young Zambians who have achieved stable employment, they now work to give back to their fellow unemployed residents. In February 2017, Jessie Chipindo (a young entrepreneur and founder of Zambia’s Dulce & Banana restaurant) employed 50 specialized staff to work for her business. Zambia’s government was greatly pleased with Chipindo’s work. Chipindo thanked the government for creating an environment where the country’s young entrepreneurs could flourish.

Agriculture as a Profitable Investment For Zambia’s Youth

In January 2018, Dr. Kaunda (cofounder of Billionaire Farmer Agric Solutions) said that Zambia’s youth could generate great profit from agricultural work; however, the challenge lies in attracting the youth to this job in the first place.

“We need to change the outdated perception that agriculture is back-breaking, unprofitable work for an old, tired generation,” said Kaunda. Kaunda also says that while agricultural work yields financial benefits, it still requires a firm commitment to hard work.

Establishing a Positive Change

On March 26, 2018, the Innovative Zambian Youths Organization (IZYO) institution planned to an entrepreneurship summit for Zambia’s youth. Joseph Maimba (the institution’s CEO) said this is part of the Zambian government’s effort to close the unemployment gap among the country’s young people. The summit will be begin on April 5, 2018 and focus on helping Zambia’s young entrepreneurs develop new skills.

Zambia’s government sees the potential of its young people to develop the country’s economic standing, and many entities will continue to focus on creating employment for Zambia’s youth

– Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr

Young Entrepreneurs

The future of poverty and hunger alleviation may rest in the hands of today’s youth. Young entrepreneurs embarking into the business world have immense power in aiding those in need. Creative thinkers and digital-savvy youth have unique skills and ideas that may give them an advantage in giving back.

In an article recently published by The Huffington Post, it was found that many of the world’s hunger-aiding programs were inspired or founded by the youth of today. Young entrepreneurs are starting programs such as “The Future Isn’t Hungry” and “3B Brae’s Brown Bags” to counter national poverty in the United States, with many working to expand internationally.

Three young entrepreneurs, Jake Harriman, Beth Schmidt and Leila Janah, have already made their mark in the fight against poverty. While Harriman’s NGO works to end world hunger, Schmidt’s organization is reducing poverty by helping people living in poverty have better access to college. Janah’s company works with American companies to crowdsource staff from developing countries, providing countless people with jobs to lift them out of poverty.

All three of these entrepreneurs recognized a call for action and drastically changed their lives to help give everyone a fighting chance. These are just a few of today’s young entrepreneurs using their skills to combat poverty and hunger.

In a report published by the Overseas Development Institute, it was stated that teaming young entrepreneurs with volunteers between the ages of 18 and 25 can combat unemployment around the world. Volunteering abroad can help young business owners acquire new skills and knowledge to better understand the developing world. In turn, volunteers working with business people can help them gain a better understanding of business tactics that they can apply to the volunteer work they do internationally.

The study uncovered a positive correlation between young entrepreneurs volunteering or working abroad and the development of skills necessary to end poverty. Volunteers and entrepreneurs worked in countries, such as Tanzania and Nicaragua, where their skills and businesses were put to the test. In the end, both the entrepreneurs and the citizens of these countries benefited in the study.

The initiative to increase the number of entrepreneurs working to give back has already begun and is continuing to grow. In Africa alone, multiple NGOs are working to unleash the continent’s untapped potential through educational, microfinance and health nonprofits. And many of these are run by or work with young entrepreneurs. Jake Harriman’s goal, along with the world’s young business people who are following in his footsteps, is to alleviate poverty by 2030.

Julia Hettiger

Photo:  Flickr