African youth representative and a Member of the Youth Parliament Norman Ndeuyeeka says young people need more help, institutional and systematic, to effectively anticipate and cope with drought.
“You may agree with me that drought affects the businesses of young people. Even though they’re assisted with start-up and expansion loans/capital, drought makes it very difficult for these youth entrepreneurs to pay back, especially those that have business directly dependent on the environment,” he says.
Ndeuyeeka observed this during the three-day seminar on National Youth Development, themed ‘Putting the Youth at Heart’, that started in Windhoek on Monday and ends today.
Ndeuyeeka says there will always be differences – either in politics, religion, culture or gender-based, but the youth should never ever allow that to separate them, as logically they all want the same thing at the end of the day.
“I’m disturbed as other progressive young people about the continuous fights between Namibian youth. I’m disturbed that we’re fighting against each other, instead of fighting for each other.
“The situation of the economy and self-interest has separated us a great deal. The issue of who hangs out with who segregated us badly. The issue of who supports who has separated us unknowingly.”
“We all want strong political inclusion of young people. We all want economic freedom. We all want residential and farming land. We all want proper healthcare, and we all want good education, that is free. We all want the same thing,” Ndeuyeeka emphasised.
He addressed a number of issues affecting the youth in line with the subject matter of national youth development and putting young people at the heart of the development process.
He points out that there is a need to address challenges by identifying, developing and producing a generation of leaders to secure the future of their generation and generations to come. He adds that society often claims that its young people are its greatest asset, but the nation has often failed to invest accordingly.
“Child poverty, youth homelessness, juvenile delinquency and other challenges not only persist, but have been exacerbated in these difficult economic times; all while the country’s prospects for the 21st century hinge on the success of our youth, their families, and communities.”
Ndeuyeeka adds that there is a need to invest in young people. He called upon and urged fellow youth to engage the community in development programmes, health education and other awareness activities to help improve the lives of disadvantaged people, particularly young people and the elderly.
“We should conduct advocacy programmes as people’s representatives for the protection and promotion of the environment; hold town hall/village meetings and consultations with stakeholders, community leaders, opinion leaders, human rights activists and the rest to discuss post-conflict challenges and opportunities and other public interests. In whatever we do, let’s continue to remind our leaders that anything about the youth without the youth is against the youth.”
Ndeuyeeka further argues that policies in Africa, including Namibia, sound great and many mention youth involvement, but rarely do they give substantial direction on how, when and where young people can get involved. It is why he is calling on lawmakers to seriously look into how they can include young people in all aspects of policy development and law-making decisions.
Policymakers participating in the seminar expressed concern over various issues pertaining to youth development, such as the 2016 Youth Status Reports and NDP5, education skills and training, health, social welfare and minority interests, arts and culture, funding and coordination of youth development, sports development, the economy and entrepreneurship.