Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment (FOCESE) in Nsnaje says inclusion of the youth in local governance structures does not immediately solve problems they face in the country as it involves policy change which takes time.
FOCESE Executive Director, Christie Banda, said in an interview that apart from youth inclusion in local governance structures, there is need to directly empower them economically so that the immediate problems they face are dealt with.
“The youth, just as adults, face economic challenges. They need basic necessities, money for business or to pay for school fees. Some of these youth have taken the responsibility of their deceased parents to take care of their siblings and some have families of their own.
“With support from Danish Church Aid through a project called Youth for Inclusion, Participation and Empowerment in Local Governance Structures, we are encouraging the youth to form Village Savings and Loans groups (VSLAs) and advocating for ownership of productive resources such as land.
“VSLAs ensure that youth have disposable income they can use for businesses and basic needs,” said Banda.
She noted that the youth in the past were not allowed to be part of the adult VSLAs but now they are seen with a different perspective by the entire community as they are able to organize themselves and form VSLAs of their own.
Nsanje District Youth Network Chairperson, Moses Jackson, concurred with the FOCESE Executive Director that the youth are supposed to be economically empowered so that they move away from dependency syndrome.
Jackson noted that most of the youth in the district have started realizing the importance of joining Village Savings and Loans groups which, he said, were transforming their lives.
“FOCESE has done a lot in empowering the youth economically. Lately, we have seen more youth taking part in economic activities such as conducting businesses with capital from the village savings and loans,” Jackson revealed.