Youth resilience, innovation and networking during Covid-19.

Youth empowerment through networking
Michelline Nawatises
Jeanette Diergaardt

The European Union in Namibia, in collaboration with the University of Science and Technology, hosted a youth opportunity forum to celebrate Youth Week on 28 April 2021.

The events of the forum lead up to Europe Day that was on 7 May 2021. Various speakers celebrated the perseverance of the youth in 2020 during Covid-19. The adversities students faced and their determination and success were highlighted by various speakers from different institutions creating opportunity for growth in Namibia.

With an auditorium filled with students and aspiring entrepreneurs, the opening remarks were made by the deputy vice-chancellor of NUST, Prof Mamimo Tjejamba, on behalf of Dr Erold Naomab, the vice-chancellor. He thanked the Delegation of the European Union to Namibia for their work and innovation.

Sinikka Antila, EU ambassador to Namibia, gave the remarks before the presentations kicked off. She said with technology at our fingertips there are so much that the youth can do. She then further outlined the work of the EU in Namibia and the different scholarships that open doors to new opportunities for the Namibian youth, especially the Erasmus Scholarship programme that the EU is driving. The aim of the EU in Namibia is to connect and empower the youth, she said.

Several presentations followed.

Dr John Haufika, director of communications and marketing at the University of Namibia, embraced the era of technology and gave his presentation via Zoom. He described how Unam students experienced and overcame trials and tribulations throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and how the students had to adapt to online learning at full scale.

Mapril !Goases, SRC of academic affairs at Unam, showed a video of students recounting their personal experiences.

Dr Phillip Santos, senior lecturer of journalism and media technology at Nust, spoke about the social, economic and emotional wellbeing of students during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delila Katanga, station manager at Nust FM, challenged the audience to be proactive in accomplishing their goals.

The third set of presentations was from members of the fashion industry.

These included fashion curator Alfred Muifi of the national museum, and fashion designer and academic Mariah Caley, who spoke about cultural fashion trends.

Fashion designer Nicola Conradie spoke about environmental sustainability in the clothing industry, which is the second biggest waste generator in the world.

Unemployment in Namibia remains high, which affects the youth in various ways. Therefore, institutions like Start Up Namibia are the saving grace for a lot of new big business ideas. Representing Start Up Namibia was its head of business development, Jesaya Hano Oshike.

He talked about how Start Up Namibia has helped various start-ups to grow. One of the entrepreneurs that benefited from training from Start Up Namibia is drone expert Virginie Uwimana from Kanie Powered Technology.

Donovan Majiedt, creative entrepreneurship assistant at the Goethe Institute, described what the institute is planning to develop the skills of young creatives.

The presentations ended on a high note when Eugene Solohub from Jabu Technologies presented the youth with an opportunity to become employed. He outlined how Jabu has empowered various home tuckshops in Katutura.