The Ministry of Youth and Sports in Livingstone has received over 35 applications for the Youths Empowerment Funds and has urged Livingstone youths to forward more applications in order to reduce unemployment rates in Southern province.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS today, Assistant Youth Development Coordinator Hezron Mukonka said although the response from the youths has been very good following intensified sensitisation exercise carried out in Livingstone and surrounding areas, there was need for more youths to apply for the funds.
Mr Mukonka explained that his department came up with sensitisation exercise to ensure that all youths are well informed about the funds in order to reduce apathy as experienced last year when there were no awareness activities.
“We have so far received more than 35 applications and we expect more as we continue to carry out sensitisation exercise to all youths in the district and the entire province,” said Mr Mukonka.
“We are also working closely with District Commissioners and other stakeholders in all the districts to ensure that they spread the news about these funds to the youths in rural areas,” Mr Mukonka added.
He also said the ministry will soon embark on sensitization programme to persons with disabilities especially the deaf.
Government last year released more than K9 billion (KR9 million) for the youth empowerment fund to be distributed to all provinces with Southern province expected to receive about K1 billion (KR1 million).
Under the programme, youths are required to apply for the loans to undertake projects such a manufacturing, education, agro-business, livestock, construction, printing services, tourism, health, creative industries, primary agriculture among others.
Mr Mukonka also said the appraisal of all the applications from the entire province will be conducted on February 28, this year.
Mr Mukonka further said the department in the province will conduct capacity building training for successful applicants in a bid to reduce defaulting by youths.