Windhoek-A youth leadership development programme established by the National Youth Council (NYC) 11 years ago, where the youth undergo intensive leadership training, is still going strong.
NYC runs the programme in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service.
The NYC Executive Chairperson, Mandela Kapere, says the organisation takes in about 20-30 young people every year where youths are trained in political, technical and administrative skills to run a youth organisation so that in the end they strengthen the youth movement in Namibia. In addition, Kapere says, NYC runs a regional component of this programme.
Kapere says applicants are chosen on an annual basis from different youth organisations. “We select 50-60 applicants that we interview and select the best 30 on an annual basis.”
According to Kapere, “The youth movement in Namibia is weak and part of the reason why it’s weak is because we have a lot of activists but we don’t have people who can run and maintain this youth organisation institution”, hence this programme was started.
Kapere adds that many young people, who have gone through the programme, are now at the forefront of many youth organisations. “I think the majority of the youth leaders that are running youth organisations have been on this programme – many leaders from various youth wings and majority of students you see today.”
The regional programme has been running for the past five years.
Over the years, NYC has held leadership development for special categories like youth with disabilities and young women.
Kapere says that the idea is to mould leadership capacity in the regions for national organisation and special interests young groups like women with disabilities or young entrepreneurs.
Asked if the programme has been a success, Kapere says NYC has helped develop a culture of pluralism and tolerance among the youth leaders, especially across political parties. “One of the things you see today is a high degree of cross-political relations and interactions”.
Secondly, Kapere says the NYC youth leadership programme “has also expanded the capacity of our regions to be able to run organisations because the youth development [programme] is not about activisms only but should be able to run institutions that are able to take forward the youth development agenda – so we have developed a lot of capacity in the organisation”.
Kapere adds that the programme is open to various political parties, student representative council leadership, young trade unionists as well as youth leading faith-based organisations.
He says another programme called Annual Political Youth Forum run by NYC – although it is not a leadership programme – brings elected political youth together at this platform on an annual basis to discuss development issues. These are different leaders from different political parties.