Never say never

Probably the most decorated young man under Youth In Action Project in Never Kakota from Ndayawani Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nthondo in Ntchisi.

The 22-year-old, who joined Youth In Action (YIA) under Creative Center for Community Mobilisation (CRECCOM) in 2013, graduated in Bricklaying from Mikolongwe Dapp Technical College in Chiradzulu in 2015. He was one of the best in his class.

CRECCOM implemented the project with support from MasterCard Foundation (Canada) through Save the Children between 2012 and 2017 in T/As Chilooko, Malenga, Chikho, Nthondo and Kasakura in the district.

The programme was expected to reach 39 850 direct beneficiaries over six years. By March 2018 the programme had reached 43 792 youths in four districts on Mchinji, Kasungu, Ntchisi, and Rumphi. From this figure, 40 593 youths completed the learning phase and 36 314 youths graduated from the full programme.

Before going to Mikolongwe, Kakota was a man of great ambition. As a young man from a hard-to-reach place as T/A Nthondo, he saw himself defeating the odds to become one of the most reliable masons.

That is why even some two years passed before going to college, the young man still kept his cool. He did not lose his focus. He knew the time would come to demonstrate his talent to the world.

“When I finally graduated at the end of 2015, I set my goals high,” says Kakota.

Just like his peers, he received starter-up tools such as spit level, brick trowel, pointing trowels, tape measure, square and wooden float.

It did not take time before Kakota got contracts. In 2016, he won a contract to build some structures at Sambakusi Health Centre and at Champhoyo Clinic. He also constructed Kavuma Bridge, not to mention teachers’ houses at Muuta Primary School.

In 2017 he won a mega project in Lilongwe’s Area

  1. He beat several other bidders.

But the climax of his roller-coaster career is when he taught 21 other young men in bricklaying. The young men today earn a living by building houses.

“As a youth, it pains me to see my peers just waste their time in risky behavior. That is why I decided to help them acquire skills that will help them become financially independent,” says Kakota, a father of one.

In recognition of his ingenuity, CRECCOM sponsored his education visit to Uganda and Ethiopia in 2017. While there, he learned how others masons conducted their business.

It was a trip that emboldened him to work even higher. But he says his service is to humanity; that is why he does not hesitate to help others.

Some 50 kilometres from T/A Nthondo is another builder who is also killing it—29-year-old Julius Chipondo from Kandodo Village who dropped out in Standard Eight.

He says he was under YIA project in 2013 but learned bricklaying in 2015 from another builder that CRECCOM contacted. After his lessons, he received K20 000 as starter-up capital. He used it to buy tools.

He has built his own house and is supporting his family.

“I have built over 50 houses. I have built houses at Mzandu Health Centre, at Kambadzo and Nsinda community day secondary schools (CDSSs),” says Chipondo.

However, he says he plans to go back to school. He says he will enrol for night classes at Nsinda CDSS.

Chipondo’s mentor, William Banda, is proud of him and others who made it through YIA.

“We know that our efforts were not just in vain. This is what we wanted to see,” he says, recommending the project to come back.

CRECCOM implemented the project with funding from MasterCard Foundation (Canada) through Save the Children between 2012 and 2017 in T/As Chilooko, Malenga, Chikho, Nthondo and Kasakura in the district.

The programme was expected to reach 39 850 direct beneficiaries over six years. By March 2018 the programme had reached 43 792 youths in 5 countries namely Malawi, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia and Uganda . From this figure, 40 593 youths completed the learning phase and 36 314 youths graduated from the full programme .In Malawi the project targeted four districts including Mchinji, Kasungu, Ntchisi and Rumphi.

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