Left: Georges van Montofrt, UNDP Zimbabwe Resident Representative Right: Hon. Kirsty Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has handed over IT equipment and software to the Ministry  of Youth, Sports , Arts and Recreation (MoYSAR) supporting business continuity of the Youth Connekt initiative  during COVID19.  The IT equipment will be distributed to critical staff who are implementing Youth Connekt activities ensuring continued engagement with young people . With the ongoing pandemic, working remotely has become a necessity for governments to continue operating whilst complying with health guidelines to curb the spread of the virus. The handover of IT equipment and software forms part of the overall UNDP business continuity initiative which is supporting public institutions transition to a virtual operating environment.

Youth Connekt Zimbabwe was launched in 2019 by UNDP in partnership with the MoYSAR targeting young people between the ages of 16-35 with skills development , entrepreneurship training, dialogue , networking and mentorship opportunities. Over 1,200 youths were reached in the pilot year through the Youth Connekt Start-Up Tour Bus and the Leave Nobody Behind Sustainable Development Goals competitions.

With the new challenges brought on by the pandemic,  Youth Connekt Zimbabwe has begun implementing some of its activities virtually.In April, young people were provided with the opportunity to be at the forefront in addressing the COVID19 pandemic Zimbabwe through a virtual edition of the Start-Up Tour Bus.  Young people from the country’s 10 provinces submitted proposals online for ready-made products and services which could be used in the fight against the coronavirus. Almost 200 applications were received from manufactures of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),  medical supplies and COVID19 apps.  The four selected winners will receive funding and long-term business incubation at IBUHUB to help improve their overall business skills and expand their  enterprises.

The virtual edition of the Start-Up Tour Bus is the first of several activities being implemented by Youth Connekt providing young people with a platform to help the country overcome its current challenges and lead in its development.

Youth Connekt was initiated in 2012 by the Government of Rwanda in collaboration with UNDP. It is currently being implemented in  ten other African countries. Initiatives in each country are informed by the country context as well as the Youth Connekt Africa objectives.  In Zimbabwe , planned Youth Connekt activities have been informed by the needs of the youth as articulated at the Youth Indaba held in February 2019.

For more information on Youth Connekt Zimbabwe visit @YouthConnektZim on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube

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