The AfDB Youth and Women Empowerment Project (YWEP) comes to life

This initiative will build on existing interventions to empower young people and women in the selected districts.

News | 11 October 2017
“We are happy as a community that the food processing project is coming to rescue us. Unscrupulous buyers have exploited us, offering $0.20c for a kilo of bananas or less. We currently accept any price because bananas are perishable. It’s better to pocket the $0.20c than watch my sweat go to waste” bemoaned Weldone Mupita, a 29 year old youth who is part of the community in Mutasa District that will benefit from an Africa Development Bank (AfDB) supported programme. This is a district endowed with an abundance of fruits and vegetables such as bananas, pineapples, mangoes, paw-paws, guavas, peaches, apples, sugar beans, tomatoes, carrots and a large variety leafy vegetables.

Part of the banana plantation that will benefit from the facilities for value addition

To be implemented by the International Labour Organization Country Office for Zimbabwe and Namibia, the Youth and Women Empowerment Project (YWEP), is aimed at enhancing incomes, creating jobs for women and youth, as well as improve livelihoods for the target groups and surrounding communities from 2017 to 2019.

The YWEP is part of the Bank’s Rural Microenterprise flagship model of the Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy (2016 – 2025). The model provides women and youth with business training, access to finance, and mentorship to launch agriculture-based micro enterprises and to support the expansion of existing ones. The target population to benefit directly from the project will be 5000 youth and women from the poor rural districts of Beitbridge (mopane worms) Marondera and Lupane (honey), Guruve (artisanal gold ore milling), Mutasa and Marondera (horticulture). The population of the targeted districts totalling 650,000, is expected to benefit indirectly from the project.

The youth and women located in the project’s geographical coverage will benefit from additional off-farm jobs to be created in the sub-sectors of food and gold ore processing. In addition, about 200 medium to small enterprises in the targeted food value chains are expected to be reached with business development services, appropriate technology and facilitation of access to credit and markets.

The food processing facilities will be set up in existing vocational training centers, whilst the artisanal gold ore milling facility will be in a designated business zone in the district. The processing facilities will involve the rehabilitation or extension of existing buildings to house the required facilities.

Mupita’s frustration was shared by the community, other prospective project beneficiaries and the district leadership, who spoke to the representatives of the Ministries of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development and Youth Development, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment, who are joint implementers of the project. As part of this mission were the ILO tripartite partners: the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions and officials from the ILO Country Office.

Women from the community who will participate in YWEP.