MIKE MUGALA, Lusaka
FOR some time now, lack of recreational facilities among the youth in both rural and urban areas has been a matter of concern
because of its negative impact on their welfare.
It has been identified as one of the main drivers of early marriage and delinquency.
Most of the high-density areas in Lusaka are as a result of unplanned settlements and this makes it a challenge for the Lusaka city council to put up recreation facilities in such areas.
Walking through a high-density area Like Chawama, it is an unusual scenario to spot a play park or other recreation facilities.
The situation is, however, bound to change for the people of Kuku township in Chawama constituency as Avic International is putting up a modern recreational facility and youth resource centre at a cost of $200, 000.
The facility, which will accommodate 200 youths, includes a football pitch, basketball and netball courts, is a donation from the people of China.
Lucky Phiri, a resident of Kuku township who has lived in the area for 20 years, is happy at the development and expresses optimism that it will reduce levels of idleness.
He is of the view that levels of youth indulgence in illicit behaviour will now reduce as they will be kept busy.
“The level of alcohol abuse among the youths in my area is alarming and is matter of concern. Our youths do not have productive ventures that can keep them busy, hence they end up being victims of substance abuse,” Lucky said.
He said Kuku has the potential of producing football players who can build the future national team and take the country to greater heights in as far as the sport is concerned.
Mr Phiri commended government for the gesture and urged young people in the area to take part in various sport disciplines that will be available at the facility.
For William Chansa, a footballer, having a modern stadium will help him improve his football skills.
He lamented that it will be easy for him to train and build on his football career and improve his levels of fitness.
“Having a stadium closer in our area is a dream come true for the people of Kuku and Chawama township as a whole. We naturally love soccer and having such a facility is a blessing,” William said.
He expressed confidence that it will be easier for youths in the area to develop their interest in sports and use their talents for survival.
William believes that youths must begin to take sports seriously saying it has the potential to improve their standard of living.
Anna Mbewe is also glad and is of the view that the netball court at the recreation facility will prevent her from indulging in ills that can destroy her life.
She noted that issues of early marriage and pregnancy will be a thing of the past as most of the girls will begin to involve themselves in sports activities.
“Having a recreational facility nearby will protect us young ladies from involving in bad company. I am hopeful that the youth recreational facility will be a centre of attraction,” Anna pointed out.
Mrs Mwila narrated that levels of bad behaviour among the youths in the area are a growing problem and the creation of a sports facility in the will provide a solution.
Nkoloma ward II councillor Tasila Lungu said the facility will among other things provide life skills to the youths, who are the majority in the area.
Ms Lungu said her ward, which has a population of over 200,000 people, lacks recreational facilities for the youths, a situation which forces them to engage in illicit activities.
And site engineer Jack Huangke said the centre will be done in two phases and is expected to be completed next month.
“The first phase will involve the ablution block and recreational facilities and in the second phase that is where we will have the youth resource centre,” he said.
Mr Huangke said the works will be completed as expected and will be handed over to the community.