UPSHIFT launched to elevate youth skills in Kavango East

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The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service on Thursday launched the UPSHIFT programme in the Kavango East Region aimed at empowering close to 60 adolescent girls, young women and men who are marginalised as a result of contemporary social issues.

“The programme which is a youth social innovation and social entrepreneurship programme combines social innovation workshops, mentorship, incubation and seed funding to provide young people with skills and resources they need to develop problem solving skills in their own communities,” the deputy minister in the ministry, Emma Kantema-Gaomas said when she officially launched the programme.

The programme is a United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) supported initiative.

Kantema-Gaomas said UPSHIFT encapsulates the principles and goals of National Development Plan 5 and more broadly the Sustainable Development Goals in terms of creating opportunities for young people.

The programme, she said is brilliant as it speaks directly to the Third National Youth Policy which advocates for improved institutional coordination to ensure that youth development is mainstreamed at all levels.

“UPSHIFT unquestionably complements government efforts to leverage existing networks of youth and business ecosystems in order to lead the change in spurring innovation, acquiring 21st century skills and increasing access to non-collateral financing,” she said.

Kantema-Gaomas addressed the beneficiaries encouraging them to seize the opportunity with both hands, adding that in 20 years from now they (beneficiaries) will be disappointed by the things they didn’t do than by the things they did do.

On his part UNICEF representative Bravo Lisoni said the UPSHIFT programme has already been launched in the Khomas and Omaheke regions.

“When we mobilised resources for this programme we thematised it around climate, energy and environment but the innovations that the participants come up with are beyond these three themes. The participants are free to come up with innovations in education, agriculture, psycho-social or mental health,” he said.

Lisoni said the aim is to build the skill set of young people and that once they have that, it’s something that cannot be taken away from them.

Governor of the Kavango East Region Bonny Wakudumo said he hopes and trusts that through the programme, opportunity will be created that would enable the youth to create job opportunities for themselves.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency