JA Zimbabwe has launched The Green Opportunities through Building Entrepreneurship for Young Offenders’ Needs and Development (GO-BEYOND) project which seeks to rehabilitate juvenile offenders that are about to be released from prison through green enterprise development. The Project is supported by JA LABS, a collaborative learning program designed by JA worldwide to elevate innovations to reach underserved youth.
The project is in response to the crisis of social and economic exclusion of young offenders and will equip beneficiaries with entrepreneurship skills through the JA Company Program. Key areas the program seeks to address are financial literacy and entrepreneurship capacity building; with new age Behavioral Health Treatments (BHTs) ie. Psychotherapy and Psycho-social support; and Triple Bottom Line based vocational skills training and mentoring focusing on the circular economy i.e. Sharing, Repairing, Refurbishing and the 3Rs (Recycling, Re-Using and Reducing).
JA Zimbabwe is piloting GO-BEYOND with 75 young offenders aged between 16 and 18 from 3 prisons, with 60% of them being adolescent Girls and Young Women. Beneficiaries were recruited after a skills and knowledge assessment. During the final 4 months before being released from prison, these young offenders will receive a hybrid cocktail of capacity enhancement initiatives entailing treatment for depression and other related mental health issues; life, financial literacy, targeted green vocational skills, entrepreneurship and digital marketing training.
Upon release from prison the young offenders will be provided with start-up kits and linked with community based mentors and/or local craftsmen for peer support and business development. The project ensures skills formalization through green vocational skills training with registered Vocational Training Centers (VTCs). Businesses established by the young offenders will be formally registered as Private Business Corporations (PBCs) with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) through a subsidized partnership with the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC).