THE private sector should partner with Government to fight juvenile delinquency by putting up sporting structures across the country to keep children busy during their free time, says Sport in Action (SIA) executive director Frank Mushindu.
Mushindu told the Daily Nation yesterday that the levels of drug and alcohol abuse and illicit sex among the young people across the country was worrying and that if the situation remained unchecked, the future of most children was at stake.
He observed that while Government had done a lot in infrastructure development by erecting sports facilities across the country, there was need for the private sector to supplement what Government was doing.
He noted that a lot of youths were engaged in vices that endangered their lives due to lack of adequate recreation centres that would keep them away from activities that had the potential to ruin their future.
“Governmnet is doing its best in providing recreational centres which children can take advantage of during their spare time but there is need for cooperating partners in the private sector to supplement these efforts so that our children are kept busy to deter them from engaging in bad activities.
“Zambia lacks community-based programmes for the young people and that is why we have seen a lot of alcohol and drug abuse as well as illicit sex because instead of doing something productive such as engaging in sports, the young people are enticed to engage into these vices due to lack of sporting facilities,” Mushindu said.
He said his organisation had embarked on an ambitious programme to only keep the young people active by creating football, netball, volleyball and basketball leagues across the country as well as training them life skills.
“We have created sporting leagues across Zambia to keep these young people away from vices. Through sport, we are also holding life skill sessions to empower these young people with skills that would improve their well-being.
“We realise that the girls are the most vulnerable among the young people and we feel if we can empower them with life skills which will also improve their self-esteem, self-confidence and negotiation skills, we shall deter them from these life threatening acts,” he said.