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Sawa: center of youth empowerment through vocation

In Eritrea, the struggle to have an independent country started in Adal and then moved to Sahil. After independence the struggle to build a better and secure future started and still continues in Sawa.

It has been 25 years since the establishment of Sawa as a center of training for the Eritrean youth. Since then Sawa has trained hundreds of thousands of Eritreans who are ready to fight against the nation’s enemies and poverty. Eritrean freedom fighters never viewed independence as an end in itself. Likewise the Sawa generation has never viewed defending and safeguarding Eritrea’s territorial integrity as an end in itself. Both generations viewed achieving and maintaining independence as a precondition for building a modern, prosperous and just nation. Both generations share a common vision: eliminating hunger, poverty and illiteracy from the surface of Eritrea.

In order to defend and build, Eritrea has to prepare its citizens academically, vocationally, politically and militarily. Sawa and national service have thus been the perfect choice for guaranteeing the security and prosperity of the country. Sawa has produced adaptable, flexible and empowered youth that are physically fit and mentally mature citizens. It builds the human resource of the country and transforms the ability and efficiency of the Eritrean youth.

In a world that demands more than basic skills, expanding the opportunities for young people to learn and train is important. Education in Eritrea is a fundamental human right and a lifelong process by which all individuals are given opportunities to attain their potential as all-rounded citizens. As demonstrated in the struggle for independence, in building Eritrea’s economy, too, the most decisive factor is human resource. In the past dedicated fighters made the impossible possible by defeating the many and mighty enemies.

Since Eritrea’s greatest asset is its people, empowering citizens with relevant education and training is the best means to develop the economy of the country. Toward this end the government has invested heavily on the expansion of education. It has been upgrading the existing technical and vocational training centers and constructing new ones. The center for vocational training (CVT) located in Sawa was one of the newly established vocational training centers that trains students. It gives relevant training to the learners to be able to respond to the national needs. In order to cope with the rapidly developing technology, efforts have been made to equip Sawa’s CVT with latest machines and technology.

The education and training given at CVT is of high standard and modern. The graduates of CVT have a high degree of acceptability in all economic and non-economic sectors of the country. The CVT at Sawa provides trained labour for the Eritrean economy. It opened a new door of opportunity for all Eritreans to develop to their full potential both professionally and personally. Since its establishment it has graduated tens of thousands of men and women in ten rounds. This year, on the occasion of the silver juvenile of Sawa and national service, CVT will celebrate its 10th graduation anniversary. Currently, the CVT is teaching thousands of students in 15 vocational schools.

The development of young people has been a priority of the Government of Eritrea since the attainment of independence. Recognizing the decisiveness of human element and large numbers of youth who were denied opportunities of education, as well as their vast potential to collectively contribute to national development, the expansion of education has become the priority of the government. In the short independence years, Eritrea has succeeded in widening access to education across all levels. Expansion of education is a profitable investment in tomorrow’s talent.

Eritrea’s strength depends on the educated, skilled, trained and disciplined youth who have experienced living and training in Sawa. It has become clear that the survival and development of the nation depends on the contributions and capabilities of its youth. In Eritrea, young men and women going through Sawa are the backbone of military, economic, socio-cultural and political institutions of the country. The existence and progress of nations is dependent on their abilities. Eritrea has many natural resources that can help for its development efforts. However, the youth passing through Sawa are the most valuable resources of the country. A reading of Eritrean history shows that the youth played a significant role in the struggle to achieve and maintain independence. Sawa has opened and widened the appetite for discovery and dreams.

In proportion to its population size, Eritrea is perhaps a country with a big number of young trained people. The whole world is eyeing Sawa because of its capacity to become a center of empowerment, excellence and self-confidence that successfully challenged dependency. Eritreans have gained the potential to develop and defend their country on their own. A large number of Eritrean youth have acquired the necessary skills and education that enables them to be ready to work. The energetic hands and brains of Eritreans are laboring to meet the needs of the nation. Nation building is an enormous task and to achieve the desired results every citizen must work for the nation. Eritreans of all ages and gender are involved in a manner that suits their capability to build the nation.

Sawa’s CVT has been one of the most important national institutions that help implement the national strategy of human resource development aimed at bringing about national development. Sawa enriches a person for life and it provides the competences necessary for the development of the nation. Investing in vocational education and training is crucial in developing countries.

CVT education is not limited to the acquisition of qualifications related to a certain profession; it also builds the character of the learners. The curriculum of the CVT at Sawa consists basically of practical courses through which one gains practical and life skills. CVT provides skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for nation building. In order to ensure sustainable supply of human resources, the government has to allocate sufficient funds for the vocational training centers.

National development is realized only after effective exploitation and utilization of both human and material resources of a country. The Center for Vocational Training in Sawa and the many other technical schools in the country are the greatest weapons that can be used to bring desirable changes and development in the country. Sawa can transform Eritrea into a producer nation from its present status of a consumer nation. Production requires a productive labor force, technology and capital. Sawa provides skills that enable the worker to work more efficiently and to adopt technology to increase productivity. No nation can be self-reliant, independent and confident without empowering and utilizing her youth.

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