The calls have been made during an entrepreneurship symposium in Blantyre which was organised to drill students on how best they can apply their academic knowledge infused with entrepreneurship skills to inspire communities to rise above poverty lines and on the other hand how they can set up non-profit organisations that would leave a positive impact in the community.
The symposium revealed gaps in community development field as it has been noted that most trained personnel in the area do not realise their fullest potential to spur socio-economic change in the community. Facilitators during the symposium inculcated in the specialists the need to go flat out and make better communities through their experiences and expertise.
According to one of the students who participated in the symposium, Joseph Mgawi, said the training was an eye opener as he garnered more skills to use in the field.
Some of the participants to the symposium
“As a Community Development Specialist, I find this training essential as regards career development. Now we can appreciate how good governance is crucial to community development. In addition I also link how entrepreneurship and environmental management go together to make a vibrant society,” said Mgawi.
Being a gender balanced group, representative of the female Community Development Specialists, Amanda Brenda Sauta said there’s more that community workers ought to be doing but often times it is neglected hence leaving no real impact in most project sites.
“When we are looking at development often times we only concentrate on the economic aspect and neglect the social part, this derails or drags the intended goals in one way or the other. The holistic way to do it is to ensure that the social component is incorporated. Taking away from this training I notice that a lot of people in the country do not realise their entitlement to social services and how they can demand them and also there’s a gap in knowledge on entrepreneurship and gender equality, the rural masses are still in the dark and need someone like me to bring that light to them,” said Sauta.
In his remarks one of the facilitators at the training, Andrew Kaponya said the country has invested a lot in community development workers but there’s need to engage them continuously so that they get energized to do more.
“We have noticed that we train young people in community development but they end up working in a totally different field. This is a challenge with our job market. So it’s our appeal to Government to consider allocating people to their appropriate disciplines so that we see the knowledge they have acquired trickling down and leaving signification changes on the ground,” observed Kaponya.
Challenged to form own non-profit organisations
In addition Kaponya urged participants at the symposium to embrace the spirit of entrpreneurship. He said the general feeling is that when we talk of entrepreneurship the majority think of one opening a retail shop or get involved in some sort of trade. He challenged the participants to consider forming non-profit organisations so that they create employment to fellow youths while solving community issues.