Youth forum vows to change lives

28 November 2018 | Youth

The Kavango East Regional Youth Forum says that despite the lack of operational funds they will try through all available channels and platforms to address the social problems the region's youth is faced with.

In an interview with Ewi lyaNooli, the chairperson of the Kavango East Regional Youth Forum, Anselm Marungu, shared some of the challenges the youth in the region face and what has been done to address them.

Marungu pointed out that the biggest challenge they have to deal with is the issue of high unemployment.

Marungu said teenage pregnancy and the abuse of alcohol and drugs are also issues of concern.

“But by far, the biggest challenge the youth are faced with in this region is high unemployment amongst the youth which is a serious concern,” Marungu said.

Marungu attributes the high unemployment amongst youth in the region to education saying that once a learner fails and drops out of school, they eventually join the ever-growing unemployment pool.

He added that the lack of job opportunities and the issue of corruption and nepotism in institutions are also factors which contribute to the high unemployment amongst the youth.

However, he added that some of the youth that were employed had given up on their jobs due to lack of commitment and this is something he says must also be addressed.

“We have seen some youth who lost their jobs because they have not been committed to their jobs and we must not shy away from the truth. We need to encourage our youth to take their opportunities seriously,” Marungu said.

Regarding the issue of teenage pregnancy, Marungu said that it is an obvious result of peer pressure and the issue of experimenting with things while under the influence of alcohol.

“Teenage pregnancy is a very serious issue in this region and we need to address it with urgency as it is not only a personal problem but a societal one which affects our whole country,” Marungu said.

On the issue of alcohol and drug abuse, Marungu said law enforcement agencies must strengthen their efforts of patrols inside alcohol outlets saying that most of the youth, especially during weekends, gather at cuca shops drinking alcohol. Marungu however partly blamed local authorities for not establishing recreational facilities which sees the youth using their spare time to indulge in illegal and dangerous activities.

He further explained how the existence of informal settlements affects the youth saying that the chances of a child growing up in such an environment and not being tempted to drink alcohol or get involved in criminal activities is highly unlikely.

“Our informal settlements are not planned and that's why you will find a home turned into a cuca shop. And then we expect our children to grow up and be responsible citizens. How can they if they are confronted with illegal activities every single day and become tempted to start drinking alcohol,” Marungu said.

When asked what the youth forum is doing to assist in addressing these issues, Marungu said they are faced with financial challenges saying that since 2015 they have not received a single from the National Youth Council (NYC) to cover operational costs.

Marungu however said that they are not limited in terms of addressing the issues because they can do something without money.

He said it is on that basis they formed the 'I inspire' movement which has given impetus to their mission.

“The 'I inspire' movement on a monthly basis holds talks and we use that opportunity to engage the youth hoping to influence them to become responsible citizens,” Marungu said.

Marungu stressed that the youth forum does not discriminate as it is there to assist youth no matter what political party they are affiliated to, their race or ethnicity, adding that it's a national forum aimed at empowering the youth.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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