Youth credit flows in Mariental
Established in 2005 by the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, the Namibia Youth Credit Scheme is the main instrument in a youth empowerment programme targetting young people from the age of 18 to 35. The programme aims to promote the livelihood of youth through employment creation and generation of own income through enterprise development. The programme was piloted in the four regions of former Owamboland where its success prompted its replication in the Hardap Region in 2011. In the meantime, the programme has been rolled out in all 14 regions. According to the Employment and Training Youth Officer in the Credit Scheme Secretariat, Maria Ekongo, the programme provides a 5-day training session in basic business management. During these sessions, the young participants have to develop their business plans which are then appraised to determine whether their businesses will be viable and the type of loans they will require.
“The programme operates through a lending methodology whereby beneficiaries are entitled to be in groups of 3 to 5 people. After starting up their businesses, follow-up training, counseling and monitoring are offered. The beneficiaries also have access to other products after graduating from the initial phase,” Ekongo explained.
Since the establishment of the programme in Hardap, a total of 347 youths were trained and 243 beneficiaries receiving loans totalling N$901,000 since 2011. This established 166 new enterprises, in the process creating 150 jobs.
During 2014, a total amount of N$157,000 was distributed amongst the youth in Mariental, Hoachanas, Maltahöhe and Aranos. In Mariental alone, 25 beneficiaries received loans worth N$55,000 ranging from N$2000 to N$4000. The loans are used as startup capital for small businesses and will also be used as a supplement for existing small businesses.
The beneficiaries of 2014 were trained at the Mariental Youth Resource Centre in 2013 and their business appraisals were conducted in June 2014. The implementing agency in Mariental is Namibia Rural Development Project.