Youths in rural communities have been urged to consider venturing into green businesses, as a way of cushioning themselves from economic challenges.
Green jobs are decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment.
They help to reduce consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste and pollution, protect and restore ecosystems; and support adaptation to climate change.
They are the response to two major contemporary challenges on how to deal with climate change and environmental degradation, as well as how to deliver development and decent work.
Green jobs can help lift millions of youths out of poverty and promote social inclusion.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality has partnered with Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change to develop a project titled ‘Strengthening Learning and Skills Development to Address Climate Change’ to capacitate rural and youth groups on climate change impacts and action nation-wide.
The project was being funded by the United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership through the United Nations Development Programme and ACT Alliance as the core funder.
Many youths in Zimbabwe hardly venture into green businesses or agri-business as a form of employment since it entails manual work and unpredictable climatic conditions making it a risky undertaking.
Zimbabwe is one of the fore-front countries in urging the youth to engage in green business by rolling out various programmes that encourage them to adopt modern and sustainable forms of business.
“It was high time for youths in the country to have a paradigm shift and stop being perennial job seekers when they could be their own employers through developing green jobs.”
This was said by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Climate Change expert Tatenda Mutasa at the Strengthening Learning and Skills Development to Address Climate Change capacity building workshop in Mt Darwin recently.
“I think this tendency of looking for employment after one has completed his or her studies no longer works these days. Many companies are struggling even to pay those workers that they have and to imagine that they will employ more workers would be tantamount to building castles in the air.
“We want our youth to be at the forefront of job creation by being innovators and entrepreneurs,” he said.
He called on the youth to venture into agriculture income generating projects and create more employment saying that agribusiness has become a lucrative business in the developed economies.
“If we don’t show confidence in our young people, who will do it? A lot of banks such as Zimbabwe women’s Bank are committed to create a good financing vehicle to support young entrepreneurs and innovators.
“Entrepreneurship, job creation, among young people hold keys to address high levels of unemployment which would reduce poverty and accelerate national economic growth,” Mr Mutasa has said.
Speaking at the same event, Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change project manager Elizabeth Gulugulu said entrepreneurship and innovation among the youth is an engine of social and economic transformation of the country which should be harnessed.
“I encourage young people in here to work hard and turn their entrepreneurial dreams into working businesses.”
She has urged fellow youth to venture into agricultural activities to significantly contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.
She said most youth prefer to work in an office environment rather than in the fields. “Youths have the perception that agriculture is for old people but this has changed with the coming of technology and smart agriculture; you do not need to get your hands dirty,” she said.
Ms Gulugulu said there is need for youth to venture into self-employment such as agriculture, which she described as lucrative.
She said venturing into agriculture will help to close the unemployment gap in most countries in Southern African.
“Young people should change and stop looking only for formal jobs to reduce the unemployment levels in the country and become more productive and contribute to the growth of the economy,” she said.
She urged youth to venture into agriculture to join agricultural organisations and learn about innovations and opportunities in the sector to boost their productivity.