Nine students from Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) will represent Zimbabwe at the 2010 Students in Free Enterprise (Sife) World Cup competition in Los Angeles, California from October 10-12.
The students were recognised at a send-off ceremony attended by representatives from the private sector, senior government officials, university representatives and diplomats in Harare on Monday.
Working in partnership with business and higher education, the Sife programme and competition mobilises university students around the world to use their knowledge gained in the classroom to address real world business and economic issues in their communities.
Sife students form teams on their university campuses to work with communities in need of business assistance in order to improve their income generation.
The students’ service projects teach market economics, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, personal success skills, business ethics, and environmental sustainability.
The winning CUT team includes Brian Kapamara, Bright Mukandiwa, Michael Musori, Gerald Chikazhe, Cynthia Manyonga, Salma Dhliwayo, Tinashe Kanyonganise, Dumisani Moyo and George Hove.
All students are currently pursuing Bachelors of Technologies qualifications at CUT.
They will be accompanied by Chenjerai Muchenje, a faculty advisor from the university.
Speaking during the send-off ceremony, keynote speaker and Youth Development Minister Saviour Kasukuwere acknowledged the positive role played by students in the Sife programme in promoting economic development.
“We want you to come and fight poverty and develop the country,” said Kasukuwere.
“The challenge is in growing the economy. And this is where the opportunity lies.”
He further pledged his ministry’s assistance in supporting initiatives by the students after their return from the United States.
In one of their nine projects, the students at CUT assisted a kapenta fishing community to develop financial, accounting and marketing systems, as well as to cultivate environmentally sustainable methods of fishing.
According to one of the students, Brian Kapamara, assistance from the students ensured increased productivity and profits and sustainability of the local industry.
The students earned the respect of their university authorities.
CUT Pro-Vice Chancellor Pardon Kuipa expressed confidence that his students would do well in the competition.
“We have pooled resources to make the trip a success, ensuring that the team participates in the global competition.
Our hopes and confidence are founded on the fact that the projects are realistic and meaningful to the communities in which they were developed,” said Kuipa.
Sharon Hudson Dean, US Embassy Public Affairs Officer encouraged the students to explore opportunities for further education whilst in the US.
She challenged them to continue the traditional role played by many Zimbabwean students in the US of strengthening cultural and other ties between the two countries.
“Make the most of your trip.
Learn about our culture and systems, but equally share information about Zimbabwe,” she said at the function which was also attended by David Abell, Charge’ d’Affaires at the US Embassy.
Ambassador Charles Ray was one of the judges in the Zimbabwe national level Sife competition.
Lena Zamchiya, Sife Regional Vice President for Africa, said Zimbabwean teams had traditionally done well in the Sife World Cup, which showcases the impact of Sife team projects throughout the world.
In 2005, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) became the first university from an African country to win the global competition (held in Toronto, Canada that year), beating 44 other countries.
In 2006, UZ represented Zimbabwe in France while Africa University managed to go as far as the semi-finals in 2009.
“In 2004, Africa University represented Zimbabwe at the 2004 Sife World Cup which was held in Spain and was honoured with the Rookie of the Year award for exhibiting passion in the implementation of their community projects,” said Zamchiya.
She described the Sife competitions as challenging, team-oriented events that create a sense of accountability and motivation for teams to continually improve the quality of their projects.
“They also provide an opportunity for collaboration and best-practice sharing, further enhancing the learning experience of students,” she noted.
The 2010 Sife World Cup will bring together an international network of more than 1 500 student, academic and business leaders from over 40 countries.