Taking Diescho’s Call a Step Further

THIS 2013 population pyramid is the reason why we should seriously heed Joseph Diescho’s proposal to establish a citizen and development-oriented compulsory National Youth Service.

It is also the reason why we should invest in youth development through education, health care, skills training, and leadership development. The same reason why we need to unleash the potentials of our young people – Namibia’s best resource – and put them to work for Namibia into every furthest villages and towns of our country.

And it is also probably the primary reason why the youth ministry should be transformed to become more relevant, vibrant and functioning.

A quick rundown: The pyramid suggests that the youth represent the highest percentage of the Namibian population. Also to note here, according to the Namibian Statistics Agency’s figure, the youth cohort represent the highest percentage of the unemployed in this country.

The pyramid equally implies that the population of Namibia is growing, but declining as you move up from age 20. This means that many Namibians are not reaching age 60 due to death caused by diseases, accidents and violence. Translation: This is not how a healthy and stable population should look like. A stable population would at least have an almost equal number of people in every age cohort until around age 60 or 80.

The policy question is, on the population pyramid, where do you want to spend your public resource most? That’s where Diescho’s citizen and development youth agency comes in handy. It makes social and economic sense to invest in the productive capacities of Namibia’s young people. Only a backward-looking society would not do this! Time is of the essence, therefore we need to act and do it now!

In his dictum column in the New Era newspaper of Tuesday, March 25, the good professor suggested that upon completion of high school (though I will say that it should go beyond Grade 12 to include recent college and university graduates at the undergraduate level of education), Namibia’s young people be deployed – through the compulsory National Youth Service scheme – in different parts of the country to engage in different developmental projects where they will learn valuable work skills, gain work experience, earn some money for further education, and develop an appreciation of the “the fundamental values in our national philosophy (peace, security, stability, justice, unity and harmony).”

To achieve this mission, this is how the citizen and development youth agency should look like: The first goal is obvious to help responding to Namibia’s critical needs in all sectors of our economy such as education, health, public safety, community development, environmental protection and so forth. What a perfect embodiment of Namibia at its best than committing our young people to do good in our country by helping the less fortunate, marginalised and the under-served communities?

The second goal of learning and understanding the Namibian character should not come as a surprise. This would be your peace and reconciliation goal to promote mutual understanding among Namibians. Call it cultural ambassadors to help bridge cultural and racial barriers!

But the national youth service would not end when a member completes hisher service. Part of this citizen and development national service would be about applying skills and experiences acquired during the national service duty to the Namibia economy. This is your third goal of leadership development in order to produce and mould our young people in becoming industry leaders in their fields in terms of influencing and getting things done.

Let’s face it, passionate, transformative, idealistic and visionary leadership-whether in government, universities, parastatals, NGOs or the private sector-is a rare breed in this part of our world. Therefore, the leadership and development goal is also crucial in promoting a culture of public service, a quality badly needed in our country.

Would the citizen and development youth agency make a difference? In other words, is it an endeavour worthy spending public funds on? My resounding answer is yes, yes and yes! The combined impact on the collective character of the Namibian society is aomically huge.

Source : The Namibian