UNICEF UK & Barclays Official Visit Zambia
LUSAKA, Zambia (UNICEF/By Mark Maseko) -- Officials from Barclays and the United Kingdom National Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) visited Zambia in early June to monitor activities under Get Ahead, a youth empowerment programme. The team was lead by Lawrence Dickinson, Barclays Company Secretary, and David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK.
“This was a monitoring visit but also a chance for Barclays to see the work that they are supporting,” said UNICEF Zambia’s Chief of Child Protection, Amanda Bissex. “Barclays and the UK Natcom have a global partnership focussing on youth empowerment and employment opportunities through a youth fund in 13 countries. Barclays is particularly interested in youth empowerment and employment opportunities.”
The Get Ahead project, which started three years ago, targets vulnerable youth with training in entrepreneurship, HIV and AIDS prevention, and life skills. After the training, youths are assisted with work placements or loans to start businesses. The project aims to assist youth who have either left school or dropped out and are in need of life skills and job placement.
“The global partnership between Barclays and the UK Natcom will end in December 2011. The visit, therefore, provided an opportunity for Barclays to see the impact of Get Ahead and the difference it is making in young lives,” said Mr. Bull. “By the end of the year, a total of 17 youth resource centres will have been supported in Zambia by the Get Ahead project.”
Some of the areas visited by the delegation were Chongwe and Mumbwa where the team saw youth resource centres providing training under the Get Ahead programme. Ms. Bissex said that the site visits were successful in demonstrating successes of Get Ahead.
“They seemed positive on how the project is going in providing young people with loans and employment. The project has also helped change the attitude of young people who now feel more empowered after the training. They are able to develop business plans and proposals,” said Ms. Bissex.
An estimated 90 percent of young people in Zambia work in the informal sector and are in need of opportunities to acquire new skills, access finance, and grow their businesses.