Nora Shindimba, a student at the Polytechnic of Namibia who attended the AIESEC Youth Speak Forum, says such forums are worth attending and that she learned a great deal in two days.
“It was nice. I don’t think many people knew about it, but I suggest they include secondary schools next time. I’ve learned about problem-solving and I got the chance to engage with other youth, speak out and have my questions answered by professionals,” says Shindimba.
About 200 delegates, some of them budding entrepreneurs from different schools and universities, attended the first regional Youth Speak Forum, under the theme ‘Social Entrepreneurship: How to see problems as opportunities’ at the International University of Management (IUM) last week.
The youth, each with very different aspirations and expectations, had the opportunity to reflect on and debate whether the issues currently affecting them are being tackled, as stipulated in the United Nations agenda, and also at government level. The Forum focused on three main concepts: to Inspire, Engage and Act.
The event was graced by speakers like Graeme de Bruyn from Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, who inspired the youth with regard to the journey of personal development. He argued that one should work to become a better version of one’s self and not to compare oneself with the achievments of others. From his perspective each person has unrevealed potential.
Sam Shivute from the Bank of Namibia, who was the motivational speaker on the day, shared his experience of how he made it from being a village boy to being the director of banking services. Shivute focused on how to see problems as opportunities. He advised the youth to develop the mentality of a victor and not the mentality of a victim.
Shivute used his life experiences to inspire the youth and further said that life is a process and for the youth to make it in life, they have to go through various stages, and it does not matter how long it takes them or in which circumstances they find themselves.
Ivan David, a learner at Immanuel Shifidi, says if the AISEC Youth Forum did not visit their school and communicate about the upcoming meeting, he would not have known about it. Given that only a few learners from his school attended, he believes those who did not attend missed out on a lot, because the debates were very inspiring: “I learned things I didn’t know and I will apply what I gained from the forum for my own benefit.”
The theme for this year was deliberately selected to awaken the youth, so that they do not get bogged down by problems, but see the problems in their communities as opportunities that enable them to develop themselves, the people in their surroundings, and better the status of their communities.
The forum was made possible by AIESEC Namibia, with assistance from its partners, the Hans Seidel Foundation, UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, UNAIDS and AFRIYAN, IUM, Amushe Incorporated, Global Business Labs, Financial Literacy Initiative, GreenVille Solutions and Coca-Cola.
AIESEC (pronounced eye-sek) was originally an acronym for Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales. AIESEC is no longer used as an acronym but simply as the name of the organisation.