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Why most Malawi’s youths are still poor by Lonjezo Idrissa (University of Malawi)

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Why most Malawi’s youths are still poor

by

Lonjezo Idrissa

University of Malawi

By definition, youths are all persons from the age of 10 to 35 years regardless of their sex, race, education, culture, religion, economic, marital and physical status. Youth is a definitive social entity that has its own specific problems, concerns, needs, and aspirations. It must be mentioned here that the definition of youth has continuously changed variably in response to political, economic and social perspectives. There are many reasons as to why many youths in Malawi are still poor.

Firstly, we can say that the youths are too lazy to go for non-paid internship and volunteerism. Others don’t even know what volunteerism is all about. By the time most people are still schooling at colleges and universities that is an appropriate time that most of them could be getting involved in volunteerism and non-paying internships and other jobs that can help them to build up their CVs. At any college or university, there are clubs and organisations that are active and students can take part or volunteers to be in different positions. What most students don’t realize is that such organisations don’t just exist but to allow students to be active, gain experiences, and learn some skills and knowledge that will prepare them in different positions in future. For example, there are organisations around the campus that were introduced by students and even big organisations mainly for students but a lot of students don’t take their time to join them since they receive nothing from the organisations. They only attend when the organisations are to be submitting t shirts and other assorted items.

Furthermore, they lack entrepreneurship skills which are skills that enable one to set up businesses mainly for profits. Most youth of today’s generation tend to lack skills and knowledge to start small businesses that can bring them some money to support their lives. You will find out that a lot of them have a potential of starting some small businesses but fail to utilize their skills and knowledge. There are youths who knows how to write, conduct plays, drama and recite poems but failing to use such kind of talents to bring them money. Instead of organizing events in different primary schools, secondary schools and colleges concerning such kinds of talents, they do think that it is a waste of their precious time and others don’t even want to try. What most of them don’t really know is that through the act of organizing events that involve such talents, people gets recognized by different people, companies and organisations and gets employed easily. There are different organisations that are hungry for youths who are well versed in such skills in organizing events, acting, speaking in public, writing different genres organisations like Public Service international (PSI), Times Newspaper, Nation Newspaper, Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), Malawi Broadcasting Station, Save the Children, Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO), and National Aids Commission (NAC), just to mention a few. One of the ways that youths can be recognized and get employment opportunities is through entrepreneurship.

Most of them are also not willing to begin from low employment positions. A lot of youths who are graduating from colleges and universities such as Chancellor College, polytechnic university, Bunda College, catholic university and other public and private colleges and universities with degrees are not willing to get employed from jobs that are of lower position. You will notice that a lot of them tend to have a mentality of securing high paying jobs and this comes all because they think that low positions are for people who have certificates and diplomas in that particular fields and that those who have degrees are for high paying jobs which is not true.

For instance, most of the graduates tend to tell each other that they are going to become managers, and other officers soon after graduating from college which is not true. What they don’t know is that every tree that they see was once a small tree meaning to say that these CEOs, and Managers with posh cars and big buildings that they know were once a junior workers. They had to begin from the bottom for them to reach the stage they are. They had to spend more than 4 to 6 years to be promotes to executive or managerial positions. One of the factors why most youths don’t know about this is that they don’t receive career talks from those people who are managers and CEOs in their respective colleges and universities concerning their employment backgrounds. Again, these graduates don’t take their time to conduct research about these high paying seniors such as goggling them on the internet for most people tend to include their CVs on online pages such as LinkedIn, ResearchGate, and paying them visits to know more about them.
Social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp is also another reason why youths are still poor.

A lot of youths are busy with things that are not beneficial in their lives such as entertainment and social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook rather than utilizing their inborn talents and learned skills to showcase them to the public since the act is beneficial culturally, economically, socially, and academically. WhatsApp emerged some year ago as one of communication social media platforms for sending and receiving messages among people. It became so effective for most Facebook users started using it. Now it is one of the leading social media platforms. You will note that almost all companies and organisations, churches, schools, political parties and other sectors are using Whatsapp for communication. To most of the youths, Whatsapp has become their daily bread. They cannot spend a day without communicating with their friends or check on other people’s statuses on Whatsapp. Most youths spend more than 5 hours of their time on WhatsApp than they do with their education and their lives. In colleges and universities, most of the youths will even interact with their friends on Whatsapp and check statuses during class lesson when they are bored and even not understanding what the lecturer is teaching. They tend to find WhatsApp so important and fun rather than using the time they spend on WhatsApp planning about their lives by searching for internships and jobs that can build stepping stones to their future jobs.

It is up to the youths to realize such issues in their lives so that they can find some better solutions to reduce the problems that are still stagnant in their lives. One of the ways is that youths in the country must unite together to eradicate the problems.

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