By Kenneth Matimaire
Mutare, January 27, 2016 – Tawanda Chitiyo has never tested formal employment since he completed his studies nearly a decade ago.
After seeing his employment prospects fade with each passing day due to a shrinking economy which has forced company closures, perhaps it was time for the 29-year-old to start looking within; and so he did.
Chitiyo is now owner of Tawanda Energy, a fledgling company specialising in biogas production.
“It is no secret that employment has become a very scarce commodity in the country but that is no excuse for youths to sit on their brains,” says the youth.
“We need to find alternative ways to keep going and innovation should be our first bus-stop.”
Chitiyo chose to venture into biogas after he realised that government needed alternative sources of energy owing to a recurrent power deficit gripping the country.
“Though it is expensive to construct biogas plants, Zimbabwe has a readily available source as it can be tapped from landfills (refuse dump sites) and waste water treatment plants,” he says.
“Hence, local authorities play a significant role in the production of biogas.”
Chitiyo feels his initiative will ease household power consumption by producing methane from biogas.
Methane can be used for cooking purposes, among other purposes, thereby saving a significant amount of electricity.
The young entrepreneur has since approached local authorities such as Harare, Mutare, Chimanimani rural district council and Rusape seeking the green light to do biogas production from their sites.
But before he could even get the nod, his enterprise has already impressed some reputable local entities.
To help him persue his dream, the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) has volunteered technical expertise while the African Development Bank (AfDB) has promised to bankroll the project under its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).
However, noteworthy is that Chitiyo belongs to an emerging crop of enterprising young Zimbabweans who have taken their unfortunate circumstances by the scruff of the neck to create scarce employment for themselves and fellow youths.
The United Ntaions has indicated that over 90 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed with the youths being the most affected.
Another unique case is that of a group of Hobhouse high density suburb residents who teamed up to embark on an environmental project where they produce water and beer glasses from disposable bottles of all kinds.
Project founder Luxon Tanyanyiwa told RadioVOP the initiative came after he had become increasingly frustrated with joblessness.
“As breadwinners, we had to find ways to support our families since we were all jobless. It was also clear that there was no hope of us ever getting employed considering the current economic situation in the country. So our goal was to devise a unique mechanism to fend for our families and at the same time protect our environment,” said Tanyanyiwa.
Another case is that of Sakubva high density suburb youths who are now making steady income through plastic recycling.
The youths have established their indigenous company called Mutare Plastic Recycling Centre, which is the first of its kind in the city.
They collect plastic waste of all kinds and recycle them into raw plastic used to produce irrigation pipes, plastic bags, lunch boxes and many other plastic products.