LIGHTNING has struck a borehole in Mpongwe cutting water supply to Kwilimuna Youth Resource Centre.
And sport, youth and child development minister Emmanuel Mulenga says President Edgar Lungu has called for serious paradigm shift of not job seeking but creating skills for the youths for self-employment.
This came to light when Mulenga toured the Youth Resource Centre.
Centre manager Patrick Mulenga said the centre had no water supply after its only borehole was struck by lightning.
He further told the minister that works at the resource centre which started in 2012 had stalled.
“Minister, we have a serious challenge of water here. The only borehole we had was struck by lightning destroying the entire system. So there is no water at the centre and this poses a serious risk to the youths here,” Mulenga said.
He said despite the centre having challenges, it had trained hundreds of young people in different skills.
“We have trained over 600 young people especially in big farms here in Mpongwe. The young people are now dotted across the country. This institution is registered and we are benefiting a lot from TEVETA,” Mulenga said.
“Driving, farming and designing are the new courses that will be introduced next year. This centre is so big but we only have three staff. All the three do not belong to the Ministry of Youth, but from education. Now with the head count going on, we can be removed from the payroll which is our concern.”
And minister Mulenga said it was the desire of the government to ensure that young people in Zambia had life skills.
He explained that the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development had embarked on monitoring all the youth resource centres in the country.
Mulenga said the high levels of unemployment could only be addressed if youths were empowered with survival skills.
“It is good that we have come to see what goes on here. Levels of unemployment should be reduced, that is the directive that was given to me. The President has called for a paradigm shift of not job seeking but creating skills for the youths for self-employment,” Mulenga said.
He explained that despite the government policy of only working on projects that are above 80 per cent, he would engage the finance ministry over the stalled centre project.
“Government has a policy of completing infrastructure which is above 80 per cent so I will engage the Ministry of Finance…So we use the Zambia National Service equipment that we help the youths through different skills. This infrastructure which has stalled will be worked on,” he said. “On the borehole that was affected by lightning, we can do that within 14 days. This centre should have water within 14 days. We can’t keep the young ones without water, it’s a recipe for diseases. Youths should have the maximum benefits from this centre.”
Mulenga revealed that President Lungu had also directed the education ministry to be buying desks from skills centres.
“We have ZAFFICO here, we can maximise this and create desks which we can sell to the Ministry of Education,” said Mulenga.
“So we are directing that if you don’t have carpentry here, make sure that you have it next year and start working on making desks. Let us not depend fully on government, but let us develop our own ways of generating resources.”