– by Siobhan Hughes
In Mozambique, SERVE works in partnership with Young Africa (YA). I have been in Mozambique for almost a week now, staying with Young Africa in Beira and what I have seen and learned already is has gone beyond my expectations. Technical, vocational education and training (TVET) are some of the core elements of SERVE’s development programme, alongside OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children), HIV and AIDS.
Tsholofelo, SERVE’s partner in South Africa also trains students in practical skills like sewing, welding and Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET). With Young Africa, the approach is slightly different. Students learn a new skill and then have the opportunity to access a microcredit loan to start their own businesses. Each department (mechanics, electronics, sewing etc.) is run by a Franchise Holder. They are local business people or past students who rent a premises on campus to run their businesses from – training students in the process. We visited many of these franchises over the past number of days.
The Department of Culinary Arts is run by Manosso Ricardo Fare and Gift Maudinuiga. Students are trained in culinary arts through theory and practical exercises. They learn the skill of cooking, the importance of hygiene and how to avoid bacteria. Students can also gain practical work experience at Gift and Manosso’s restaurant located on campus. ‘MAGICO’s’ is aptly named after its founders and their love for food! MA(Manosso) GI (Gift) CO (Comida – Portuguese for ‘food’). The restaurant, at the heart of YA provides food for the staff and students of YA, along with SERVE volunteers and other guests. The odd birthday cake is also whipped up!
6 years ago, just 5 students attended classes. This semester there is 90 students and some even have to be turned away! The demand is huge with up to 90% of students finding employment upon completion of the course. Due to the success of the business, Gift and Manosso now own their own houses and share a company vehicle and they have also opened another restaurant outside of the YA campus.
Cacilda Comacho Chauque is a franchise holder and runs the Sewing and Dressmaking classes. She is a past student of YA and graduated in July 2013. Cacilda received a grant to start her own business and is now the Head of Department. She has 27 students who are learning through theory and practical work. For example, the department make uniforms for the staff of YA and uniforms for the local school children. With the support of Irish Aid, Cacilda is successfully running her own business. Cacilda bought her own sewing machine so that she can also work from home. These are just two success stories of YA’s franchise model.
SERVE volunteers have supported this process by assisting in the building of essential facilities, teaching English and supporting the capacity building of our partners. The volunteers are working in Dondo this week at YA’s latest venture – YA Agri-Tech. Students who attend YA Agri-Tech learn the theory and practice of farming, raising animals and fisheries. SERVE volunteers are currently providing support in building the fish tanks for the campus. This will enable the fisheries practical classes to begin, and a franchise to operate from Dondo. Consequently, the TVET programme, supported by Irish Aid will also be supported by SERVE volunteers. SERVE values our volunteers as they play a leading role in our development programme.
YA Agri-Tech enrolled its first students in February 2014. One franchise is already in operation at YA Agri-Tech. The chicken coop project is the first franchise and is currently run by Francisco. The course covers the theory and practice relating to the care of chickens and the production of meat and eggs. There are just 4 students taking part in his classes at the moment, but as we have seen from the success of Gift and Manosso’s department, this number will only continue to rise!
Skills training is very important in SERVE and YA’s partnership and approach to development. HIV and AIDS is an issue in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe – our three priority countries. All courses that run at YA Mozambique include life skills training to ensure that youth are empowered and educated to make informed choices regarding their sexual health. Thanks to Irish Aid, we have been able to support YA to provide TVET and life skills training to over 1,000 youth in Beira every year. This number is continuing to grow as word is spreading of the success of Young Africa!