Youth satisfied with forum

Windhoek-Educational and empowering was how one of the delegates to the Southern African Regional Youth Forum (SARYF), which ended here on Thursday, described it.

Ronald Badubi from Botswana said of the sixth edition of SARYF hosted at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Hotel School last week that he was very satisfied with the outcome.

The event has been educational; it has empowered us with the necessary knowledge and tools to effectively participate in the realisation of social justice, Badubi said, adding that the programme also instilled in them a strong sense of solidarity as young people.

Development should be an inclusive process, therefore no one should be left behind, he said.

Badubi further said they learned a great deal about the theory and practice of social justice, and most importantly, the programme exposed them to social realities in Namibia and other participant countries.

Emphasis was also placed on the strengths and weaknesses of the social protection measures in participating countries. He said the programme enhanced their understanding of social justice and its underlying values of solidarity, freedom and justice. We have also been empowered to be solution-oriented, rather than merely identifying and complaining about political, social, and economic problems, says Badubi.

Juliard Rakootomalala from Madagascar described the event as fruitful and educative, saying she learned a lot, especially about young people's contribution towards democracy and social justice in the region.

One of the recommendations from SARYF this year related to youth and education and has it that the SARYF must ensure that educational opportunities for the youth are in place and functioning from the local to the regional level. Constant monitoring and dates must also be set for the first events to ensure effective work accountability.

Another recommendation was on youth identity and representation, meant to address underlying issues fueling negative images of young people, such as alcoholism, not only at the legislative or parliament level, but also at local and community level by all sectors of society.

The recommendation on youth empowerment through enterprise development, grants and employment creation implored the youth to start setting up a fund through which SARYF could facilitate specific skills development for the youth.

Members would contribute to the fund through membership fees. SARYF has been convening on an annual basis since 2012 under the auspices of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FFS), an organisation that offers youth development interventions at national level in many countries across the globe, to focus on enhancing leadership capacities amongst young leaders.

The theme for this year's forum was 'Youth Towards Social Justice' and formed part of their commitment to practically realise development aspirations of young people in the region.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia