National Youth Council Executive Chairperson, Mandela Kapere, has revealed that the council has spent over N$300 million on a visibility study to support youth initiatives, including the construction of a youth centre in Windhoek.
This comes after several complaints of neglect from the youth and poor response on issues such as the accessing loans and other economic empowerment initiatives.
Kapere says the project is an initiative under the Youth Infrastructure Master Plan structured by the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Services with the aim to develop and empower the youth and promote sport, culture and arts.
“We have come up with an initiative that can benefit our youth by availing a place for them where they can create development projects and host them at those centres for free without having to go look for venues that require money,” he says.
The centre will be located in Katutura replacing the current community art centre and will consist of a swimming pool, conference rooms, cycling track, accommodation, indoor hockey facilities and a gym.
Kapere explains that, “the project was a strategic plan that was discussed three years ago but we only managed to start this year due to the unavailability of funds, however, this centre would be a game-changer because we have so many athletes who do not have a place to stay when they come from different parts of the country to play against other national teams. Most of them are located at school hostels and this would also be a good opportunity for our entrepreneurs to organise activities at the venue availed for the public.”
With the unemployment rate at 28% and 30% of the total employed population classified as vulnerable, kapere explains that such initiatives empower and educate young Namibians.
Queried on whether this project would be enough to reduce unemployment and poverty in the country, Kapere says, “the project will assist two or three people because we would need people that might be operating from there and youth will learn three or two things from there, however, athletes will definitely benefit a lot from this project”.
Kapere further explains that there are already multipurpose centres in a few parts of the country, however, NYC will continue to expand the centres with the aim of taking information to the people.
“We already have a centre in the Oshikoto region, the Omaheke one is under construction, as well as the Mariental one. We have recently purchased a youth centre in Rehoboth as well since Rehoboth has over 37 thousand people. I would gladly say all regions have youth facilities but many need to be upgraded,” he says.
The initiative proves portrays widespread recognition of government initiatives in terms of employment creation and youth empowerment.
“Although a considerable portion of the youth continue to feel left out with employment cited as the major concern, the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) also indicates that the youth will be priorities to cut out unemployment and create more opportunities,” Kapere tells Prime Focus Magazine.
Corroborating on the HPP, Kapere also mentioned that, “We are currently busy identifying more towns to construct centres for the youth to make sure no one feels left out but I cannot speak about that right now because it is still being discussed”,
A report presented by the National Youth Council recently also states that, 70% of applications for university education are not accepted which leaves many young Namibians wanting in terms of activities and initiatives that they can undertake to empower themselves and become upstanding members in society.