“37 might seem to be a small number, however, it is a step in the right direction because it is easier to end something than to actually start it”. That was the message delivered by the National Youth Development Council (NYDC) Council Secretary, Mr. David Musonda, at the launch of the Rise Again Mentorship Programme on Friday 28th October, 2022.
The Rise Again Mentorship Programme is a partnership between the NYDC and Undikumbukire Project Zambia (UP Zambia) in line with one of the Council’s core functions which is to, “assist and encourage organisations interested in youth development in the initiation of youth training and development programmes”. The Programme entails various sports and counselling activities aimed at ensuring smooth re-integration and rehabilitation of juveniles that were once in conflict with the law. It also caters to families of juveniles as a preventive measure and support towards the re-integration process. Further, the NYDC and UP Zambia under this Programme provide legal and humanitarian support to this usually neglected section of Zambian youth who are in contact or in conflict with the law. Rise Again is thus, an opportunity for our youth to reflect upon their past and to start all over again to create a positive and better life for themselves and their families.
There is a total of 37 male and female youth participating in the Programme. The participants who hail from Lusaka’s Kanyama and Matero townships, train every week and the activities include football, basketball and arts. However, the long-term plan of the NYDC and UP Zambia is that Rise Again will be up-scaled countrywide in order to cater to as many juveniles and youth as possible.
Honoured to have graced the launch was the Director of Youth, Mr. Davis Muunga, who was representing the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Arts. In his speech, Mr. Muunga remarked that, “The Government has taken measures to restore law and order in the country by reinstating public faith in our legal system through deliberate investments in the concerned human resource, facilities and infrastructure. Doing so creates an enabling environment with appropriate guidelines and opportunities to mitigate identified gaps, strengthen existing interventions and eliminate the lack of service delivery in communities, which is usually a promoter of youth delinquency”. He further stated that a life-changing programme such as rise again calls for our collective effort to champion it and push the youth agenda ahead.
Ms. Sara Larios, the Executive Director of UP Zambia, in her remarks highlighted that, “Incarcerated children need more than a Lawyer. Many who end up in the criminal justice system arrive with substance abuse problems, lack of family support and difficult social and economic situations. It was for this reason that the mentorship programme takes a holistic approach by using worldwide interventions that aim to reduce the cycle of crime and pathological behaviour amongst children which include a combination of counselling, life skills, parental support, and extra-curricular activities”.
The event also unfolded into a successful launch thanks to the support received from the National Arts Council (NAC), the UNFPA and the Southern Africa Aids and Information Dissemination Services (SAFAIDS). NAC provides tutorials in arts to the youth, UNFPA donated 50 dignity kits to promote female hygiene, whereas SAFAIDS provided information services on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).