By John Dongo
Founded by Wilbert Jena a young Zimbabwean man based in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2019, For Youths By Youths (F.Y.B.Y) is a youth-led organization based in the high-density suburb of Mufakose in Harare, Zimbabwe. The need to start this organization for Wilbert emanated from his desire to help young people faced with challenges ranging from high rates of unemployment, HIV and AIDS and drug abuse.
One of the main projects For Youths By Youths carries out is a drug abuse awareness and prevention program where they educate youths on the harmful effects of drug abuse.They also host youth dialogues where they give young people a platform to discuss various challenges they are faced with and proffer possible solutions. Under the drug abuse awareness and prevention program, they have a rehabilitation project that helps young drug abusers form support groups where they can access help to combat drug addiction. Wilbert highlighted that the projecthas been a success as they have managed to rehabilitate many youths who were once drug abusers.
Wilbert bemoaned the minimal support they have had with regards to resources. He pointed out that in most cases, he has had to use personal finances to fund the organization’s projects. The lack of financial support has hindered the extent to which they can impact their community, as some of the project requires a lot of financial resources. To try and remedy their lack of financial resources, the organization started a monthly collection of subscription fees from their volunteers, these volunteers help out in programs and projects carried out by the organization.
Wilbert pointed out that every project they initiate stands out as a great moment because it leaves a positive imprint in the lives of young people who have faced adversities but are willing to turn their lives around. One of their greatest moments was on the 1stof January 2019 when they exhibited the organizations work in South Africa which had never been exhibited outside of Zimbabwe. As they work and look for ways to expand their reach, Wilbert highlights that in their plans for the future they intend to spread the work they are doing to cover not only the whole of Zimbabwe but the entire African continent.
A key piece of advice Wilbert had for young people who want to start organizations that positively give back to the community was:
“When starting out as an organization, you will not have all the resources and ideas, hence it is important to establish strategic partnerships with key stakeholders who not only have resources but a wealth of experience in your area of focus as an organization. Establishing partnerships with key stakeholders will go a long way in helping you reach your intended goal as an organization that is still starting out”.
In establishing For Youths By Youths, Wilbert wanted to play an active positive role as a young person in his community where he had witnessed young people falling victim to drug abuse. His goal to impact the community is a feat he has managed to achieve to an extent. Wilbert pointed out that one aspect that has helped him meet his goal is staying resolute even when challenges arise and knowing that the goal is bigger than any obstacle.