Nam youth WANT MORE
World over, the month of June has become a month for the youth.
On the eve of the youth month, scores of young people gathered in Rundu this May for the fourth Annual Youth Week hosted by the National Youth Council (NYC) where a strong reminder of the immense contribution made by the country’s young people was sent out.
Amidst the strong chorus for Government to set aside funds for the youth in Small and Medium Enterprises development, Minister of Trade and Industry Hage Geingob, urged the hundreds gathered to take it upon themselves to make tangible strides to benefit from these funds and better their lives.
“There are funds available and some of you are taking the initiative to visit the respective offices to increase chances of accessing the funds. I urge all of you to follow them or ask them and not to be shy as to how they got to where they are now.
“Government has increased funds for Small and Medium Enterprises for your benefit and you must take that to be yours not for me to come and single each one of you to be beneficiaries. As youths, if you show energy, the elders will commit more towards your ambitions as we have done now,” said Geingob.
The National Youth Council (NYC), Executive Chairperson, Mandela Kapere challenged the youth to take advantage of the national development programs being offered as well as approach the responsible authorities for funding in view of the N$1,5 billion allocated to the Ministry of Youth under the current MTF period.
He highlighted NYC’s commitment towards constructive dialogue between youths and policy makers arguing that young people’s views are not being readily communicated to the makers.
“We have fallen short of the intended objective to carter for every youth’s needs especially in the rural areas but we have already decentralised our youth development programs to enable the participation of all young people,” Kapere said.
Kapere further argued that the N$10 million received from Government falls below the youth’s expectations and programs set for implementation especially in rural areas.
Kapere revealed that the NYC has proposed to Government for the establishment of an employment task force to generate employment and training for youth with potential in sectors such as agriculture and fishing.
This, as a solution to the over 50 percent unemployment figures in Namibia where the youth account for more than 60 percent of this statistics.
“Youth should take stock of 16 June 1976 and reflect on the young people and their role in society,” said Kapere.
For Kapere, the Youth Week this year was a success as a message to the powers that be was sent out.
During the gathering, young people exhibited their potential in various disciplines.
One such youth exhibitor was somatologist Paulina Malulu from Ongwediva, who since graduating from a Pretoria institute, Madge Wallace International College of Skincare and Body Therapy, in November 2009 has established a huge base from her range of beauty products.
“I started with this line of work in 2008, a year before I went for my studies and when I returned I registered my business with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and began operating without any external financial support. I have decided to get mobile with my services to generate income and become financially independent,” she said, as he beauty products were being showcased during the Youth Week.
Despite having studied in South Africa thanks to a Government loan, Malulu maintains that Government needs to review funds allocated to youths for bursaries and other various projects because they are eroded by inflation and would not be enough for intended purposes.
She urges her fellow youth to take more appropriate action for their voice to be heard.
“As a young person one should be innovative, vibrant and ready to take on the challenges life throws at you. Either we are ambitious and kicking up a gear or we are clueless and too lazy to explore,” she said.
Artist Mbeutara Kaunatjike from Kunene region also raised the issue of funds allocated to youth as mainly benefiting those in Windhoek arguing that other regions are rarely informed on the availability of funds.
“Our local youth groups and representatives in our regions are too relaxed to represent us at national level so we can also know what is going on and when and where we can access these funds. Like now, you see we have to go around looking for scrap timber, refurbish it and try to make ends meet,” he said.
Kaunatjike challenged both the ministries of youth and trade to ensure that youth centres are available and functioning well in all regions for the empowerment of young people.
“We are not educated enough to access loans from banks and other institutions. We rely mainly on funds from Government but at times we feel like Government becomes inaccessable,” he added.
Michelle Shimutwikeni from Omuthiya highlighted the need to have an educated youth walking the streets than one that is not even employable as the basis of taking Namibia further. PF