YOUNG Women for Economic Development (YW4ED) members are set to showcase their works at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) that opens today.

YW4ED was launched by the First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, in August this year.

The organisation which is open to all Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation held an outreach programme yesterday at the Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC).

The Bulawayo outreach, ran under the theme, Your Network is your Net Worth, and was targeting women from the ages of 18 to 45.

The event was attended by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Raj Modi, National Chairperson for YW4ED Tatenda Mavetera and representatives from Bulawayo, Mashonaland West and Midlands.

The main message during the outreach was that YW4ED was an apolitical movement meant to give opportunity to every woman in all aspects of the economy.

There were motivational speakers such as Dr Nothando Moyo, who spoke about self-worth and how as women they must be found in every facet of the economy. Another one was Mrs Nomagugu Dube of fast-growing fast-food outlet Slice Pizzeria, who gave a brief insight on how she started her business.

During the proceedings, YW4ED Bulawayo provincial chairperson and renowned artiste Mrs Sandra Ndebele-Sibindi set the tone for the day saying women from the province should not miss the opportunity to uplift themselves and the economy.

“The biggest hindrance to the empowerment and development of young people we have in Zimbabwe right now is the politicisation of everything. We deny ourselves great opportunities and we ostracise ourselves from great ideas simply because we assume that they belong to a particular person, group or party.

“These opportunities are presented to us each and every day, but we have blinkered ourselves and we do not see them. We have become so caught up in the thick of thin things that we fail to take advantage of all the glorious prospects our land and our resources have to offer. We need to revise the way we think and act,” said Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi.

She said women are integral to the revival of the economy.

“Women are key to the economic development of our country. That having been said, the role of young women in economic development is like a currency whose value does not diminish. Enhancing women’ s participation in development is essential not only for achieving social justice but also for reducing poverty.

Worldwide experience shows clearly that supporting a stronger role for women contributes to economic growth. In short, investing in women is central to sustainable development. And yet, despite these known returns, women still face many barriers in contributing to and benefiting from economic development,” said Mrs Ndebele-Sibindi.

The national chairperson of YW4ED, Ms Mavetera, said it was important for every woman to take up this opportunity.

“The President is a president for us all and he has embraced us as young women into the economic development trajectory of the country,” said Ms Mavetera.

“I’m therefore, delighted that our organisation Young Women for Economic Development which we officially launched on Friday 13 August 2021 is an economic empowerment drive whose main thrust is to push for inclusivity and participation of all women below the age of forty-five in all sectors of our economy through socio-economic and political activities that enhance productivity, development and empowerment as we move towards the attainment of an upper middle-income economy by the year 2030.”.

Bulawayo Provincial Minister Ncube, who was the guest of honour, said there needs to be a shift in perception where women support each other.

“As women we need to change the stereotype that women do not support each other. I believe that if we support each other, we will become more successful. A woman alone has power and collectively we have impact. Raising each other up and channelling the power of collaboration will assist us to change the equation,” said Minister Ncube.

She said the participation of women in economic development was fundamental to the National Development Strategy 1.

Platform one are joined by Miss Zanu-Pf on the dance floor during a Young Women for Economic Development outreach programme in Bulawayo yesterday

“NDS1 recognises that women’s full and equal participation in the country’s economy is a vital step towards achieving sustainable development. The Second Republic under the servant leadership of His Excellency the President Cde ED Mnangagwa has pledged full support for the empowerment of women and our youths.

Various programmes have been put in place to ensure that women fully and actively participate in all sectors of the economy. This is evidenced by the various initiatives being implemented by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community and Small Medium Enterprise Development,” said Minister Ncube.

In an interview on the sidelines of the event, YWED national programmes co-ordinator Ms Sithabile Gandi Ndlovu said the organisation’s participants will take advantage to market their works at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) that opened today.

“The outreach today (yesterday) is aimed at bringing awareness of the organisation and taking note that the ZITF will be starting tomorrow (today) we are going to be having women from the organisation exhibiting there.

“This is to fulfil part of our principles of devolution as prescribed by President Mnangagwa. In that light we want to ensure that young women in each province are a part of the economic development trajectory in line with NDS1 as we are focusing on agriculture, mining, arts, culture tourism and small to medium enterprises,” said Ms Gandi Ndlovu.

Kickstarting the entertainment was Iyasa who got the invited guests on their feet. There was surprise entertainment by South Africa’s Platform One, who got the audience dancing and singing along. Mzoe 7, fresh from his United States of America sojourn, also entertained the masses, with the likes of Novuyo Seagirl and LaDee.  Chronicle