Lack of activity frustrates youth officers

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-Youth activities in the //Kharas Region have come to a standstill, with many youth officers just idling in their offices doing nothing but wait for their salaries as most of their planned activities are shot down by the ministry.

The youth officers under the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service are to identify youth programmes, and then seek funds to carry out these programmes and activities, but they say carrying out their duties has been difficult as their requests are always ignored.

Annelien van Wyk, head of the Keetmanshoop Multipurpose Youth Centre, told New Era that most youth officers in the region are frustrated because they have nothing to do, as all their submissions for activities have not been approved over the last years.

“We are supposed to have environmental, youth and health, gender, employment and training, and youth exchange programmes, but we do not, because government forever doesn’t have money,” she said.

Van Wyk said the lack of activities is not a new thing and cannot be linked to the financial problems the country faces, adding that this has been going on for years, to an extent that youth officers and the youth in the region have given up on government, noting that youth officers now try to solicit funds from private companies instead of waiting on government.

She said the situation is bad and youth officers are now demoralised and hopeless and do not know what to do to assist the youth in the region, as almost all their plans are never approved.

“I can safely say that for the past three years there are some youth officers that have not had a single activity approved, so what are they supposed to do?” she asked, adding: “We are not decentralised, so for me it is just useless to plan in the regions because whatever plans we make there is forever no money.”

She added that the region sits with very active youth officers committed to their work, but they are highly frustrated because all their programmes and activities don’t get support from the government.
“We have youth officers that come to work depressed and demoralised, because they cannot do the job that they get paid for,” she said.

One of the youth officers Asmara Kaffer concurred with the centre head, saying youth activities in the region are almost non-existent, and the centre which once was full of young people is now empty.

She said it has been a struggle to get their submissions for youth programmes approved by the ministry, adding that many a time they are informed there are no funds.

“I cannot remember the last time any of my activities were approved – sometimes we do not submit at all because we are told beforehand that there is no money for our activities,” she said.

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