Graduates take on fight against poverty

Sunday, November 14, 2010
By: 
Kemantha Govender

Durban - Mfundo Ngcobo, 23, is one of 205 unemployed graduates who are to be deployed in communities around KwaZulu-Natal to assist in implementing government's "One Home One Garden" initiative.

By encouraging communities to practise agriculture, these youths will be helping to fight poverty in the province.

Ngcobo and his colleagues signed their contracts with the Department for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development on Thursday and will be deployed to 871 wards in the province.

Ngcobo has a Diploma in Agriculture, specialising in crop production, and will be based in the uMungundlovu District for the next two years.

"I am so happy and very passionate about working with people. I will be on the ground working with the people and report back to government, so they must feel free to share their problems with us," said Ngcobo.

His day to day tasks will include educating people in the district about how best to grow crops and provide them with seeds and other equipment for gardening.

MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development, Lydia Johnson, said she was pleased by the recruit's enthusiasm because young people generally saw the agriculture field as "backward and dirty work".

She said the recruits, from the Cedara College based in Pietermaritzburg, will also find employment through the initiative.

"The department is committed to empowering youth in agriculture and rural development, as areas that require special focus. It places a lot of value on the college graduates... What we have started with you today should translate to positive outcomes not only for the department but more importantly, for communities across the province".

Thembi Duma, another recruit saw her appointment as a platform to serve the nation. "The role agriculture plays in our lives is important to me. I have a great interest in it and want to help people, especially women, provide for their families," said Duma.

She appreciated the opportunity to go into the communities to put her education into practice.