First SADC Youth Water Forum in Namibia

Dr Mary Seelie, former head of Gobabeb Research station explaining a point on water to the young audience at the SADC Youth Water Forum held last week in Windhoek.

In response to the need for more youth participation, the SADC Youth Water forum held its first meeting at the House of Democracy in Windhoek.

The event was organized by the Youth Water Task Team stemming from the recently held regional SADC Water Weeks in May under the theme ‘From Vision to Action’.
The meeting aimed to create awareness of the forum to stakeholders; solicit inputs to the draft an action plan and most importantly discuss ways to proactively engage the youth in matters of national importance in the sector: sustainable water management, environmental protection, sanitation, health and hygiene.
Institutional representatives and tertiary education students from various sectors attended the forum.
Ms Nicole Boggot, the Head of Office at the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Namibia, welcomed all present and opened the forum. A number of presenters then set the scene for the meeting by highlighting the duties of the SADC Water Youth Group in Namibia and the expected outcomes of the forum; the state of the environment and water resources in Namibia; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
The guest speakers at the forum were: Dr. Mary Seely, the Founder of the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN), Ms. Luiza Shekupe, Senior Manager: Grant management and mobilisation, from the National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST) and Mr. Gabriel Moses, Environmental Health Practitioner, from the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS). The main talking points discussed at the forum were, sustainable development in the sector and governance at decision-making levels, capacity building of the youth in the sector for economic development, the importance of accurate and consistent datasets to effect water resource planning and compliance, encouraging innovative ideas by the youth to address the challenges in the water and related sectors, finalizing the draft action plan to secure buy-in from key stakeholders and ensure sustainability of the forum and formalization of the SADC Water Youth Group.
Meanwhile the the expected long-term outcomes of the initiative were: to broaden the platform for information sharing, youth engagement and giving the youth a voice, conduct a ‘Roadshow’ awareness and educational campaign by visiting schools with a national representation, conduct professional development training and capacity building programs in both public and private sectors, as well as establish links of cooperation with line institutions or ministries.
Other long term outcomes were to draft proposals for project funding and a Youth Water Task Team constitution was drafted.
The Youth Water Task Team elected an executive committee at the close of the forum included:
Chairperson: Ms Faith Simataa, Vice Chairperson: Mr Joachim Komeheke, Fund Mobiliser: Ms Bernadette Shalumbu, Spokesperson: Ms Priscilla Mundilo and Secretary: Ms Tiffany Claasen.