Government targets training of 10 000 ‘Green Bombers’ in 2024

By Staff Reporter

The government has announced plans to train 10 000 youths in 2024 under the controversial Border Gezi National Youth Service Programme often dismissed as indoctrination exercise by the opposition.

Addressing a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare on Tuesday, Information Minister Jenfan Muswere said;

Cabinet was updated on the Re-establishment of the National Youth Service Programme by the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training, Honourable Tino Machakaire.

Since the Cabinet decision in 2021 to re-establish the National Youth Service Programme, some progress has been registered by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training.

Achievements to date include:             

 the National Youth Service Bill is being drafted following the approval of the Principles in August 2023;

 establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Implementation Committee to oversee the implementation of the programme;

 the development of a 6-month training programme which will target youths between the ages of 18 and 35. The programme, which covers 3 months of institutionalised training and 3 months of community attachment, will commence in June 2024 with an enrolment of 750 youths across the country.

Those who undergo the training will be issued with certificates on completion of the programme;

 the new curriculum will infuse national orientation with life skills training and entrepreneurial development;

 new uniforms, signage and logo have been designed and will be registered;

 all Production Units are expected to fully utilise available land and engage in commercial production units for self-sustenance; and

 a total of 10 000 youths are earmarked to undergo training in 2024. The youths will be drawn equally from all the country’s ten provinces. The recruitment will be cascaded to incorporate youths in all wards and districts; and

 the National Youth Service Programme has been renamed Youth Service in Zimbabwe.

Going forward, youths who complete training will receive priority in employment and enrolment into public sector and higher and tertiary education institutions, and will be prioritised for financial support to establish new projects and businesses.

The programme, funded through Treasury, makes a return after years of suspension during the 2009-13 Government of National Unity.

Initially introduced in 2000 and named after the late former Youth Minister and Zanu PF political commissar Border Gezi, it was derogatorily referred to as ‘Green Bombers’ due to its uniform colour and rigorous military-style training, which some accused of fostering aggressive behavior and intimidating tactics among graduates.

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