Conference to Raise Scouting Profile

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Good governance in the scout movement is a valuable contribution in building a stronger generation of future leaders in Africa and the entire world. In view of this, close to 80 delegates from Southern Africa converged in the capital to attend the 33rd Annual Southern Zone Scout Conference last weekend. The event that was hosted by the Scouts of Namibia Organisation focussed specifically on good governance in the movement under the theme “Moving Youth Forward in the 21st Century.” Officially opening the conference on Saturday, the Prime Minister Nahas Angula said that a Scout Youth Programme complements the country’s educational system. In as much as education prepares the youth for further education and employment in the job market, so does scouting prepare them for self-sufficiency. He said scouting is in essence a “non-formal system of progressive self-education”. “They aim to bring scouting to all the youth of our country on a voluntary basis, to contribute to their development as useful, responsible and socially conscious citizens,” said the Prime Minister when he addressed delegates at Greiter’s Conference Centre outside Wind-hoek. In the beginning, the scout movement in the country was only a branch of the Scouts of South Africa. But in 1989 they moved away, to become known as the Scouts of Namibia in May 1990, and became recognised by the World Scout Committee as an accredited national scout organisation. Having attained over 1000 members in October 2004, Scouts of Namibia was recognised as a full member of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement. The objective behind such a scout movement is geared towards moral development and spiritual growth, boosting self-confidence, encouraging community service and young people to further peace, unity and goodwill in a diverse society. Governance in scouting comes when scouts are taught to be responsible for their own development by showing duty to their country through participation. Chief Scout of Namibia Thomas Amutenya stated in a press release that the two-day conference enhanced interaction between the various representatives of scout movements around Southern Africa. “We met with or neighbouring scouts of Africa to exchange diverse views and thoughts on how to improve scouting for the benefit of the youth in our respective countries. It is therefore anticipated that the just ended conference will raise the profile of scouting in Namibia and throughout Southern Africa, where the movement has been in existence for nearly 100 years.” Scouting is seen as a non-formal, non-political educational movement for boys and girls from all walks of life that aims to develop individual character and good citizenship. There are more than 100 000 scouts in Southern Africa and about 1 500 in Namibia alone. During the conference, the delegates also looked at local support for scouting, democracy from the local level and the challenge of governance in the global context. Besides Namibia, the over 80 invitees included delegates from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and scout officials from the Africa Scout Region office in Nairobi Kenya.

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