The local government leadership in the Luhunga, Ihanu, and Mdabulo wards of Mufindi district, Iringa region, has stated that since the inception of the Youth Agency Mufindi (YAM) project in 2021, there has been a successful reduction in crime incidents, such as chicken theft, previously perpetrated by some youths. 

Now, many youths are engaged in productive activities instead of loitering in idle groups. 

According to Adam Mgovano, the councilor of Luhunga ward, there used to be rampant theft incidents in their wards, with youths frequently apprehended for various thefts, including chickens. However, now they have become exemplary youths, and the fear of theft in the community has diminished.

Through the YAM project, youths from disadvantaged families who used to idle around and engage in criminal groups, such as drug users, drinkers, and other deviant groups in society, have now abandoned those groups and formed economic groups. The government provides interest-free loans to support them. Mgovano mentioned that in Luhunga ward alone, there are youths involved in motorcycle repairs, farming, and some have received interest-free loans directed towards their economic projects or have joined their parents' projects.

The success of the avocado farming initiative in Luhunga ward in 2023 generated revenue worth Tsh 83 million, contributing to the ward's economic growth. This success is attributed to the joint efforts of the YAM project youths. In the ongoing 2024 season, they have already sold over 13,000 kilograms of avocados, with expectations of higher sales in March and April, possibly exceeding the Tsh 83 million mark from the previous year.

The local government continues to encourage YAM project youths and the community to engage in avocado farming, seeing it as a lucrative venture for the future. They aim to ensure that the youths benefit significantly from the local government's loans, as they meet all the criteria for eligibility if they continue to join groups.

The YAM project encompasses all three types of youths: males, females, and persons with disabilities. It has been a significant relief for the Mufindi district. Agnes Mwagala, one of the beneficiaries of YAM training, expressed her intent to change her life's direction by abandoning the idea of seeking employment in urban areas and instead focusing on economic activities supported by the project.

The project manager, Zilipa Mgeni, emphasized that the YAM project targets youths from disadvantaged backgrounds, some of whom have dropped out of school due to various challenges. Through entrepreneurship training, they receive piglets as capital to start their economic journey and are educated on mental health to understand themselves better and overcome idleness and despair. The youths will continue to benefit from the project, implemented in collaboration with the Mufindi district government.

Thus, the partnership between Mufindi District Council, Foxes Community and Wildlife Conservation (FCWC), and YAM, supported by Finland's funding, aims to reach 320 beneficiaries. However, they have exceeded this target by reaching 420 beneficiaries from 16 villages in the Luhunga, Ihanu, and Mdabulo wards.

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