Bulawayo urgently needs state of the art one-stop community centres that would be attractive to idle youths in the city, a councillor has said.
Currently, almost all community halls and centres are shunned by the youths as they lack basic amenities that are appealing to them.
Calls have long been made for the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) the custodian of the facilities to revive the crumbling infrastructure as that would help remove youths from the streets where they engaged in nefarious activities such as drug abuse and prostitution.
Some residents say the collapse of the facilities results in youths being drawn to Vuzu parties and other risky activities.
Ward 17 councillor Sikhululekile Moyo, who was recently exposed to modern community centres during her two-week working trip to Sweden said a massive infrastructure overhaul is needed for council community centres.
“While in Sweden I was exposed to advanced community centres that cater for the youths there,” she said.
“I observed that youths centres in all towns I visited are well equipped with modern infrastructure that basically cater for all leisure needs for the youths,” she noted.
However, facilities mainly youth centres located in the Bulawayo’s high-density suburbs, were designed to entertain young people through various activities such as dramas, choirs, boxing, basketball, swimming, netball and soccer.
Some of the activities are now viewed as no longer attractive to the youths.
She called for innovation in the centres to lure the youths adding that the young generation is clamouring for improved social amenities.
“I can describe them as one-stop shop, equipped with technological hubs, standard sporting infrastructure and manned by highly trained staff. We must be innovative to save our youths’ future.
“I feel that as a city battling high employment rate and destructive Vuzu patries, we need to move with speed to upgrade our youth centres. Yes, massive financial resources are needed to kick-start that but satisfactory benefits would be realised in the long run,”
Meanwhile, Moyo said local authorities can turn to biogas by utilising vast waste that is available.
She said local authorities can twin up and set up a biogas company that would produce fuel.
“I also observed that solid waste management by Swedish local authorities is a top priority and massive undertaking.
“Local authorities there use biogas as fuel for their vehicles
“Here in Bulawayo, we have a lot of waste around townships and business district which is a valuable resource that can be recycled and used as biogas.
“A company made up of say three local authorities with constant flow of waste can be created to run biogas factory,” said Moyo.