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Young Rotary leaders and entrepreneurs on the rise

Young Rotarians listening attentively to Heide Baumann of Otjiwarongo Rotary club talking about innovative thinking, career building and entrepreneurship.

The 5th annual Interact Conference for youth leadership development which is run and organised by the Rotary Club Windhoek was held recently at the Habitat Centre in Katutura.

The event brought all Rotary Club Interact members together to be educated on fundamental issues such as entrepreneurship, career paths and innovation skills.
“Even though entrepreneurship is a subject in schools, the concerns and questions that were raised at the Rotary Seminar is clear that youngsters who might emerge as tomorrow’s star entrepreneurs and role models, [still] need help, guidance and support today” said Claudine Mouton from SME Compete who presented an entrepreneurship course to the eager crowd of young Rotarians.
“Perhaps it’s time to include the young ones who are serious about business” Mouton added.
More than 90 youngsters from Interact clubs in Otjiwarongo, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Windhoek attended this year’s conference. The event was an infusion of edutainment with many inspirational presentations, career planning speakers, ice-breakers and even dancing lessons. Interact is an initiative of Rotary that provides students aged between 12 and18 with an opportunity to engage in community service to make a real difference whilst having fun.
Young people in a town or city where there is a Rotary Club and who are already in a career, usually 25 years or older, are also encouraged to join a Rotary Clubs in their local community. There are currently seven Rotary Clubs, three in Windhoek and one each in Lüderitz, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Otjiwarongo.
Rotary clubs help young people connect with community leaders, develop leadership skills and help them engage in community service projects. Hage Geingob, A. Shipena, DHPS and Khomas High are the only school in Windhoekthat have Rotary Interact clubs. At the recent conference, for the first time ever, grade 7 learners from the Marti Ahtisaari Primary School were invited to participate. Towards the end of the Interact Conference, they were initiated as full members.
“Rotarians are business and professional leaders who prize service above self and as a result, routinely undertake or run community projects and programmes within their club constituencies. Their strong focus is working with the youth as a strategy to prepare future leaders. Rotary clubs on a global scale encourage high ethical standards and carry out projects to address issues such as poverty, health, hunger, education, and the environment” said Heide Baumann of the Otjiwarongo Rotary Club.
The focus of Rotary clubs is on youth development within the community. These Clubs help prepare tomorrow’s leaders today. Rotary Interact programmes include student exchanges, the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA), membership of Interact and the promotion of literacy.

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