“The train has taken off,… and hasn’t stopped.”
August 24, 2023
More unemployed graduates continue to be deployed to various organisations for a six-month placement under the UNDP-initiated Eswatini Youth Empowerment Programme. On 24 August, 11 host organisations received the third cohort of 49 young graduates to start their six-month placements at the beginning of September 2023. This brings the total of deployed graduates since July 2023 to 138, placed with 23 organisations, including government ministries, parastatals, UN Agencies, SMEs and NGOs.
Speaking at the certification ceremony of the third cohort held in Matsapha, the representative of host organisations, Fanele Chester, expressed gratitude to UNDP, the government, and partners for developing a solution to a challenge many African countries face – youth unemployment.
“I know there have been initiatives here and there, and seeing such a national programme get off the ground is encouraging,” she said. “Although this programme is implemented in Eswatini, it will provide an example for other African countries facing a similar challenge.”
Chester, also the head of community service at Waterford Kamhlaba, said EYEP aligns with the educational institution’s mission of developing young people to be responsible citizens of the world.
“As an educational institution, we’re also passionate about this programme because we develop young people who one day will be in your position where they have trained. They have to go and not only apply the skills they’ve been trained for but have to learn new skills at the workplace,” she said.
Speaking at the same event, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative David Omozuafoh, appreciated the government for being part of the process from its inception, adding that he was confident that the programme would be sustainable. He also appreciated the role of all partners who have been part of the EYEP process, including the host organisations, in opening their doors to graduates.
“We’re happy that the train has taken off; it is running, and it hasn’t stopped,” he said.
He reminded the graduates to set an excellent example in the workplace and to see challenges as opportunities to develop solutions that will help them generate income.
“We’re looking forward to you moving the world of Eswatini to greater heights,” he told the graduates.
The certification ceremony occurs after a three-day induction programme facilitated by Catalyze Eswatini covers personal effectiveness, entrepreneurship and mental health. Addressing the graduates, Senior Business Advisor Zanele Mazibuko, explained that the role of Catalyze is to build capacity and shape the mindsets of participating youth to make the best of this opportunity. Mazibuko was representing Catalyze Chief Executive Officer Debbie Cutting.
“It has certainly been a few days of a lot of hard work, but we commend the graduates for remaining focused and engaged and, most importantly, taking the responsibility to reshape their futures,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the interns, Sinakekelwe Dlamini – a BA in Development Studies with Honours graduates, expressed her gratitude to all EYEP partners for presenting them with this opportunity, which she promised they would grab with both hands and make the most of it.
“We have learnt a lot here, such as finding our purpose. It’s not about getting the internship, but it’s about fulfilling the bigger role of finding our purpose,” she said.
EYEP will deploy the fourth cohort next week.
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