By Clemence Tashaya
EENHANA –The Junior Mayor of Eenhana Town, Rachel Namupolo, is appealing to fellow young people in Namibia to commit themselves to working with other regions and other people from all walks of life to meet opportunities and challenges of population growth because their decisions as youths will determine how they live together for the future.
“It is a fact that many of our youths are street children who mostly turn to the streets in search of adventure, excitement or independence. Some are in the streets because they are abandoned or neglected by their families and guardians. As youths, we have to stand up and view our life as precious and restrain from alcohol, drugs, unwanted pregnancies and all negativity we face in life,” she said at the observance of World Population Day here on Friday. “Investing in young people” was the theme of World Population Day which was observed here on Friday under the auspices of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) and focused on the young people as they are the key to Namibia’s achievement of the National Development Plan 4 as well as the vision 2030.
The theme for 2014 is aimed at building awareness of the importance of educating the young people in order for them to acquire modern skills and competencies.
The Day seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues to find solutions to such problems. For this year’s observance, the UNFPA partnered with the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture (MYNSC), the Ohangwena Regional Council and the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA). “Young people also lack equitable access to services, opportunities and encouragement that can facilitate their development in a positive manner. They are deprived of the opportunities to realize and develop their capabilities as often they are described as lacking capacity or not having the relevant experience to deliver services and products,” said Lisias Tangeni Hainduwa, a Director in the Youth Ministry, who read the Youth Minister, Jerry Ekandjo’s speech on his behalf. speech his behalf. He added that the youths are bearing the brunt of many challenges such as high youth employment, poverty, poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes including HIV/AIDS, alcohol and substance abuse.
The UNFPA representative in Namibia, Dr Ademola Olajide, said young people deserves education, including sexuality education and access to comprehensive health services. “With the right policies, investments and social support, young people can enjoy healthier lives free of poverty and enhance prospects for peace and stability. The global community currently parades the largest cohort of young people the world has ever seen, with about 28 percent of the world population between the ages of 10 – 24 years, while Namibia the same cohort representing 58 percent of the national population,” he said
This clearly establishes Namibia as a “young country” stretching the age limit to 35 years then raising the proportion to rise to about 78 percent. Dr Olajide further noted that the socio-economic conditions for the critical mass in the Namibian society requires further attention. “HIV prevalence for the age cohort 15 – 24 years is about 16 percent and teenage pregnancy is around 15 percent, with teenage pregnancy responsible for about 10 percent of maternal mortality figures. In this case, the UNFPA remains committed to work with a broad range of partners in particular young people themselves to advocate for policies and programmes that invest in adolescents and youth and foster a positive environment,” he explained
The United Nations estimates that in 2050, there will be between 7, 3 billion and 10, 7 billion people living on earth. The World Population Day is an annual event, observed in July and seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the governing council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989.
The celebrations were attended by the Ohangwena regional governor, Usko Nghaamwa, the Kavango East Governor, Dr Samuel Mbambo, the Queen of Oukwanyama Traditional Authority, Her Majesty, Martha Mwadinhomo, learners from various schools and community members among others.