31 March 2014

Youth unemployment is an important issue all around the world, particularly in Zambia where more than half the population is under 20 years old.

Young Zambians want to become more economically independent and want to have the skills and resources to achieve their ambitions, and Barclays has a range of initiatives aimed at supporting them.

The southern African country is the only one on the continent where all three of our global community investment programmes are being delivered: Banking on Change, Barclays Spaces for Sports, and Building Young Futures.

Through 5 Million Young Futures, we have committed to invest not only our money, but our colleagues’ time and expertise in community programmes that enhance the enterprise, employability and financial skills of disadvantaged young people. We want to support five million young people by 2015.

Banking on Change

Over 60% of Zambians have no access to formal financial services. Banking on Change - a partnership between Barclays, CARE International UK and Plan UK – aims to change that by breaking down barriers to financial inclusion for people living on less than US$2 a day.

Raphael Tembo - who lives in the Chimbobo district around two hours north of the capital Lusaka – is just one of the young people learning to save and manage their money through the programme. With the skills he has learnt, Raphael has saved to grow his welding and piggery businesses, enabling him to provide greater security for himself and his mother when times are hard.

Before Banking on Change, Raphael lacked the skills he needed and used to run his business “idly”. Now he has new goals and a business plan: he hopes to attend college to study metalwork, and move from his welding bench on the side of the main road through his village to his own welding shop. Raphael coordinates a savings group for young people in his community and aspires to open a bank account in the future.

Barclays Spaces for Sports

At the Barclays Sports Centre in Lusaka, charity Grassroot Soccer is harnessing Zambians’ passion for football to give young people the confidence and skills to get into employment, education or training. Many participants progress through the training and become coaches who mentor other young people and give back to their local communities.

Aaron Kapoma is one young coach who has found employment thanks to Grassroot soccer. He gained crucial interview skills through the programme, as well as the communication and people skills that have helped him in his new job in local government.

Barclays volunteers also support participants by delivering training to help them improve their financial and employability skills.

Building Young Futures

At Mtendere market just outside of Lusaka, Nsamwa Daka leads a group of women who run a small catering business.

Nsamwa once battled with drugs and alcohol, but she is now not only a budding entrepreneur but a true role model for the women in her community. Many of the women are survivors of domestic violence, and the kitchen provides them with a safe environment, food and source of income. Nsamwa received business training and mentoring from our Building Young Futures partnership with UNICEF, which provides young people with the skills they need to start their own business or get a job.

“My dream is to empower every one of the women going through the programme to start their own business,” said Nsamwa

Down the road from Nsamwa, Morris Siwakwi and Dainess Kabaso have set up their own tailoring business. Before the training they were both unemployed. When they first started, they worked outside making products on the street. They now work from their own shop, and have ambitious plans to expand and employ more people.

The business not only allows them to afford the basic things in life, but Morris is using the profits to send his brother to school. Dainess is excited about what the futures holds: “If you come back in one year I think you will see that we are a very big business - even too big for this store.”

The power of collaboration

Citizenship is as much about the impact we have through our products, services and day-to-day decisions, as it is about investing in communities. Zambia is home to the Barclays-GSK Partnership, which aims to increase access to affordable healthcare and medicines, while creating improved economic conditions for growth.

The partnership is investing £7m over three years to help remove financial barriers to healthcare access while supporting small business development and job creation. Using the resources and expertise of both organisations, our goal is to establish a mode that can be replicated across Africa.

To find out more about Citizenship at Barclays, and how we live our Values in countries around the world, visit our Citizenship page.