Youth an integral part in water resources management solution

Delegates, speakers and participants of the the first ever Water Week Youth Forum. The group came up with water resources management strategic solutions that will form part of SADC’S Regional Strategic Action Plan. (Photograph By Jenny Sitole)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in partnership with Southern African Development Community (SADC), Global Water Partnership Southern Africa and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia hosted the first ever SADC Water Week Youth Forum earlier this week in Windhoek.

The objective of the forum was to create a platform for the youth to interact with members within the water division on issues, as SADC looks at drawing up the the Regional Strategic Action Plan. Under the auspices of SADC, MAWF held the SADC Water Week from 27-29 May.
This national youth forum brought together youth stakeholders at the national level, to work together in mapping the way forward for youth involvement in the country’s water and sanitation sector.
The National Youth Forum informed the way forward with regards to youth involvement in the environment, water and sanitation sector at the national and regional levels. The youth contribution will be taken up to SADC level for programming in youth participation in water resources management and youth groups came from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The youth groups had youth programmes that focused on environment, water and sanitation.
“There has never been a platform were the youth could openly engage with the state in the nations water affairs or even the current water crises we are facing, and the SADC Water Week paved the way for the youth forum to be a reality amongst the youth. And we as the youth of the nation can now be part of the global solution on water resources management,”said Bernadette Shalumbu Water Week Youth Focal Person.
The activities identified by the youth at the forum which are to be included in the national action plan and the Regional Strategic Action Plan included enhancing social economic development by investing in the youth, creation of a database that will contain information on the research papers done in the environment water and sanitation sector by the youth of the water division body, and to raise awareness to the public on the environment water and sanitation sector.
Meanwhile the SADC Water Division together with the Infrastructure and Services Directorate will be holding SADC Water Weeks in all 14 SADC Countries under the theme ‘From Vision to Action’.
Two parallel sessions comprising a media training and a youth forum were held on the first day followed by the main workshop. The main workshop,was attended by water stakeholders and other relevant sectors.
Another aim of the SADC Water Week was to sensitise journalists to report on water issues as well as empower the youths to participate in water programmes and development through media and youth workshops.