When a precious gemstone is worn out, it should be picked up, and re-polished to give it another round of a brighter life This illustration gives a true reflection of what Swazi MTN and Junior Achievement Swaziland (JAS) have pursued and hope to consistently achieve through a Vocational Entrepreneurship Programme started in 2017.

The programme targets the unemployed and less privileged youth, some of which who couldn’t even complete their high school education. Its aim is to empower them to use their vocational skills to start and run sustainable businesses.

Swazi MTN, through the MTN Foundation, pumped E300 000 in the programme last year to support the training of 44 students. The beneficiaries were from the Manzini Industrial Training Centre (MITC), Siteki Industrial Training Centre (SITC), and Nhlangano Agricultural Skills Training Centre (NASTC).

JA Swaziland Executive Director Siboniso Madlopha says as Swazi MTN turns 20, they are delighted to have partnered with the company to rework the future of young people and enable them to dust themselves off, and live brighter lives.

Some of them are mechanics, plumbers, electricians, tailors, and construction experts. “We want to support young people to start their own businesses instead of relying entirely on formal employment,” he said.

This programme also offers seed capital for the students. Last year, Swazi MTN gave out seed capital worth E50 000 for five best businesses. Each business received E10 000. After successful completion of training, the different businesses received seed capital and the young people were further mentored by Junior Achievement.

Through the support of Swazi MTN, the programme also provides the students with a portal to advertise their products, or services online.

“This development came in handy as these young people have no sustainable marketing and advertising budgets and the results are incredible,” says Madlopha.

About 44 young people graduated from last year’s programme.

The partners are currently working on a vetting process for the new intake.

“Our aspiration is to remain partners of Swazi MTN even in the next 20 years. We look forward to celebrating 40 years with Swazi MTN because we want this partnership to benefit more young people,” said Madlopha.

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