n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Gateway to national economic and social development? an analysis of the uses and abuses of the Zimbabwe national youth service in relation to the African youth charter - research

Volume 14 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1727-7140


This study looks at the uses and abuses of the National Youth Service (NYS) as a vehicle to attain national economic and social development for the youth in Zimbabwe. Started in 2001, the NYS has in its short life span attracted both admirers and enemies locally and externally. Whilst proponents of the NYS argue that it is the best way to integrate the youth fully in all aspects of the economy, in line with the dictates of the African Youth Charter, enemies have argued that the NYS has been nothing but an attempt to sacrifice developmental aspirations on the altar of political expediency. This study looks at the politics surrounding the implementation of the African Youth Charter, particularly article 15, which states that member states should institute NYS programmes to engender community participation and skills development for entry into the labour market. This article asserts that the NYS in Zimbabwe was implemented before the adoption of the African Youth Charter in 2006 and that this has raised concern among the youth that no attempts have been made to harmonise the two. As a result, instances of the NYS being abused for partisanal ends have been rife, leading to calls to rebrand the NYS in line with the provisions of the youth charter. Therefore, besides the issue of perception, this article argues that lack of resources and discord within the unity government led to the failure by the government to fully implement the African Youth Charter in the Zimbabwean context.

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