On 17th November 2015, the Hanns Seidel Foundation Namibia (HSF), Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and Water Youth Namibia collaborated to hold the 2nd Youth Water Forum in Windhoek. The event was well-attended by students, the media, young professionals and entrepreneurs amongst others.
It is a well-known fact that the youth are the future leaders however, it is also true that the youth are faced with immerse challenges that need to be addressed as a collective by all relevant stakeholders. Over the years, youth platforms have highlighted the need for integration and social inclusion in decision-making processes because there is a serious need and demand for skills development to sustainably manage our resources. Hence, placing less significance on mainstreaming youth in the sectors concerned deprives generations ahead of a sustainable future, and indirectly makes them pay for the actions taken and decisions made in the past.
The overhauled Youth Enterprise Promotion Policy of 2004 emphasizes employment creation and financial support for young entrepreneurs, based on human rights and social justice. Therefore, a highly skilled community of professionals is required to bring about innovative technologies and solutions, and implement them in a context relevant and appropriate to the economic development of the country. The Policy’s objective is “To develop the inherent abilities and capabilities of the individual youth”…and “To initiate and encourage the establishments of youth development projects” to help promote social change. It further demonstrates Namibia’s readiness to accommodate youth-related matters. How do we then invest in youth empowerment? This refers to creating and supporting enabling conditions within which the youth can be proactive
We all agree that water is life, but the financial resources allocated to the sector are not enough when compared to other sectors. Some youths specifically those in rural areas have poorly resourced facilities for career guidance and in general the youth lack the skills and experience required to be successful in the sector. Some youth members also have “get rich quick” attitudes whereby they would rather prefer short term employment contracts that offer quick bucks and opposed to long term contracts that offer opportunities for growth within the sector.