The Chawama Youth Project

Chawama Township in Zambia is like so many other urban centres in Africa and the Caribbean - it is facing major problems with the young people, especially males. It has a population of 37,500 of which 65% is 25 years old or younger. Most of the youths (between 15 and 25 years old) are unemployed and lack skills to generate their own sustainable livelihoods. One of the main factors is the low level of education. Many youths do not finish their school, and most of these school drop outs are unskilled and unproductive, which in turn negatively affects their self-esteem and leads to increased levels of loitering, alcohol abuse and criminal activity. The story is a familiar one.

But Chawama Township has tackled the problem in a way that deserves attention.
“We realized that there is a rampant employment among youth of Chawama Township. So we decided to come up with a skills training centre to give them life skills. This would help them to get employment or be self employed” said Rodgers Mulenga (Secretary General of the Chawama Youth Project).

Here is a video about the award-winning Project.

The Chawama Youth Project (CYP) is a community-based non-governmental organisation established in 2001 and registered with the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA). It offers ‘life skills’ courses in subjects such as Auto Mechanics, Tailoring, Carpentry, and ICT, to improve the young people’s chances of finding work. Teachers are using the internet to enhance content (e.g. by accessing diagrams of engines using Google Images instead of drawing on the blackboard); hand-outs are being produced quickly; existing lesson plans are now being stored and re-used.

You can download an IICD briefing on the project here.

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