Multi-purpose youth centres underutilised

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-All the multi-purpose youth resource centres built by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and National Service are currently underutilised due to the low intake and lack of youth participation in the programmes initiated by the ministry.

The low intake of youth for the programmes offered is largely attributed to the lack of machinery, as broken equipment at the centres is not repaired. This was one of the findings by the Standing Committee on Gender, Youth and Information Communication Technology that undertook oversight visits to Kavango East, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, Otjozondjupa and Erongo regions between June 25 and July 6.

Six multi-purpose service centres and sports complexes built and several under construction were visited, including Frans Dimbare Youth Skills Centre in Kavango East; Eenhana Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre and Eenhana Sport Complex in Ohangwena; Outapi Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre and Outapi Sport Complex in Omusati; Otjiwarongo Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre and Okakarara Sport Complex in Otjozondjupa and Swakopmund Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre and the Sport Complex in Erongo.

The committee conducted a thorough comparative analysis of its findings at each of the centres and sport complexes visited and noted the findings that are cross-cutting and are key contributing factors to the dilapidated state of youth facilities in the targeted regions. Chairperson of the standing committee Ambrosius Kandjii and his team observed that none of the instructors offering training are formally appointed, nor are they qualified as instructors; rather they are offering their services on voluntary basis and rely on their basic skills. Further, the committee found that youth training is done in a vacuum and is not coordinated to yield focused results. It also emerged that every centre conducts training on their own and there is no certification from the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) for these programmes.

The committee also noted that training materials are not provided to the centres and that volunteer instructors rely on their own knowledge, as there are no standardised manuals they can base their youth development programmes on.

The committee found that over half of the computers and tailoring machines purchased by the ministry for various centres had been dysfunctional or broken for years and were piled up at the centres without the possibility of repair. The committee observed that there was also weak or non-existent record-keeping at the centres, as none could provide statistics of the number of youths trained and the number that have become self-sustaining or subsequently found employment, claiming that statistics are available from the ministry. All the centres are not properly maintained, as the maintenance function rests with the ministry at the headquarters, hence the facilities are not kept up to standard. The committee further observed that the youth centres mostly operate without proper supervision, as all supervisors are based in Windhoek. The centres were found to be unclean both inside and outside, despite the fact that a number of labourers and cleaners are employed at the centres, the committee noted.

The committee also found that the construction of sport complexes is proceesing at a very slow pace, as the time taken between construction phases is quite lengthy.

It also emerged that the construction materials used at several of these complexes were of very low quality, as the constructed parts are already falling apart, as at Eenhana – even before the completion and inauguration of the complex.

None of the sport complexes under construction are on schedule, while construction phases that were reported as complete by the ministry were in fact not completed, despite the funds having been allocated for the specific construction phase, the committee noted. The committee found that there was no uniformity in the design and structure of sport complexes and that the premises were not properly maintained. The complexes that have been built are also not guarded and are thus also prone to vandalism.

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