NKURENKRU – Chairperson of the Kavango West Youth Forum Willem Kotokeni, said as Namibia celebrates youth day and youth week, it is important to look at all other issues that ignite gender-based violence.
Kotokeni made the remarks on Tuesday during the official opening of the 14th National Youth Day and Week at Nkurenkuru. For the past 13 years, the National Youth Day and Youth Week has been themed around different issues that affect young people. This year’s theme is ‘Youth Ignites Zero Tolerance against GBV’.
“This theme must remind us of the task we have long overlooked and we must start acting promptly. While we pause to observe the national youth day and week under the aforementioned theme, it is important to look at all other issues that ignite GBV,” he said.
“Of course every region’s experience is absolutely unique. As young people, the issues affecting women and children must matter to us. And we must show that they matter through our programmes, interventions, dialogues and, especially, very important platforms such as these engagements,” he said.
Kotokeni noted that fighting against GBV must be a fight for everyone, especially those in leadership.
The youth leader further noted that Kavango West is faced with many challenges that continue to hinder progress of youth programs that may be planned in pursuit of dealing with GBV in addition to all other issues affecting young people in the region.
Challenges include lack of youth facilities like a youth multi-purpose centre to house all youth activities, lack of human resources to cater to the demand of the larger youth population in the Kavango West and lack of support from regional leadership.
“In exception of the office of governor, which is ever coming to aid of our programmes, we can’t thank this office enough and we pray that all offices can emulate a good example from the office of the governor. The youth office at Kahenge is a white elephant and not youth-friendly, as it has been without electricity and water for a long time,” Kotokeni said.
Given the nature of the region, Kotokeni said youth leadership who are entrusted to reach other youths with programmes are also faced with transport challenges to access all the youth in the eight constituencies.
“Dear young friends, despite all the predicament, the youth forum structure is hard at work to continue engaging stakeholders to respond to the needs of young people in all corners of our unique region. We would like to call upon all the young people to start taking up space, grab all the opportunities, and participate in all structure of decision making wherever you find yourself,” he said.
Countrywide, youth day is observed and celebrated on 27 April and youth week is observed and celebrated during the last week of April every year.