Accepted paper:

Rural Youth Development and Empowerment: A Case of Mhondoro Ngezi District 1980-2007


Honest Elias Koke (University of Zimbabwe)

Paper short abstract:

The paper looks at the development and empowerment of rural youth in Zimbabwe, focusing on Mhondoro Ngezi District. It is hinged on the mentality that youth development and empowerment is influenced by many factors, from the administrative ones to youths' own urgency.

Paper long abstract:

This paper looks at the relationship between rural youth development and empowerment focusing on Mhondoro Ngezi District in Zimbabwe. Youth development has always been the main aim of Zimbabwe's development programmes since attaining independence. Youth development and empowerment should be understood within the context of community development which started during the colonial period. The decades of 1980s and 1990s, branded as the 'lost decades' were years which saw youth policies centred on advancement and promotion of ZANU (PF's) agenda and ideology to perpetrate one party state in order to protect its political hegemony. The youths were used to coerce the masses to attend ZANU (PF)) rallies and meetings in 1985. This was easy since there was a blurred line between national policies and ZANU (PF) policies. The era of 1990s was a neo-liberal stage saw the youth both in rural and urban areas suffer the most due to loss of employment, employment opportunities and stiff competition to establish income generating projects or entrepreneurial establishments. Indigenisation process began in 2000, reversing the 1990s policies. The 'Youth Brigades', reminiscent of the 1980s, and this time referring to youths as 'graduates' of the National Youth Service Programme were back in force. It was during this period when indigenisation policies became the rhetoric of rural politics and development trajectories. KEY WORDS: Youth, Development and Community, Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, Poverty

panel P051
Youth-led leadership and participation in Africa