102 youths were recently trained by the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme at Bambanani and Thornville Irrigation Schemes in Mangwe District of Matabeleland. The youths included 25 females who were trained in garment making, 52 others trained in baking and confectionary and 24 males who underwent a bricklaying training.
The mobile training, a collaboration between SIRP and Department of Agriculture Education was meant to facilitate skills transfer to the youths through vocational training with the ultimate objective of promoting continued agricultural production, food and nutrition security, market access, and resilience for communities. Acquisition of skills such as garment making, baking and confectionery was also meant to empower the youths with skills to start their own livelihood projects which will benefit the communities.
Previous vocational training enrolment cycles had noted that young women’s participation was low in some schemes in Masvingo and Matabeleland South and the mobile training intended to improve attendance of the young women. Reasons for the failure to attend previous training sessions, especially by female youths included
• Distance barriers to venues compounded by the fact that young mothers were overburdened by daily chores including preparing children for school
• Socio-economic status where some females were also household heads with husbands working outside Zimbabwe. They were expected to that ensure livestock is safe in the pens in the evenings.
• Beliefs systems and socialisation systems which expected married women expected to be home much of the time.
• The majority of young women preferred baking & confectionery and garment making to other courses previously offered.