#BeFree to be you

One Economy Foundation invests in youth development

06 April 2021 | Youth

Mariselle Stofberg

On 31 March, the One Economy Foundation - in partnership with the sport ministry - launched the ground-breaking of project #BeFree, which represents the coming of age and harnesses the vibrancy of the #BeFree Movement.

Project #BeFree was born as a result of engaging over 100 000 young people from all 14 regions in Namibia, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

“This is done through frank, non-judgemental dialogue and thematic conversations on experiences through #BeFree engagements. Young people have taken ownership of the #BeFree brand and are driving the values, programming, services and modalities,” said Steven Bernardus Harageib, the head of programmes at the Once Economy Foundation.

“The #BeFree key learnings report revealed that there is a pressing need for an integrated protection system with adequate capacity and resources to prevent harm and respond to the needs of young people in a coordinated manner,” Harageib added.

He said the long-term vision of the project is the transition towards a physical building where adolescents and youth can be in a community where they feel accepted, understood and heard.

“The intention is to create an enabling environment for the full realisation of young people’s potential and where they can access adolescent-friendly services and high-quality programmes.”

Creating safe spaces

The aim is to create a state-of-the-art safe space for young people to access services and facilitating a safe recreational space where they can engage with peers and access services such as counselling, comprehensive adolescent sexual and reproductive health services and family planning.

The facility is comprised out of several interactive spaces namely the clinic, the Yo! Hub which is focused on futuristic technologies, a resource and training centre and an administration building.

The One Economy Foundation is committed to financing the construction and furnishing of the facility, ensure the implementation of all necessary activities and ensure the financial sustainability of the project.

The foundation will donate the facility back to the ministry after construction has been completed. The foundation also will facilitate the transfer of skills, ensure consistent maintenance of the facility and utilise the project construction phase to renovate parts of the Multi-Purpose Youth Centre.

The foundation has further earmarked 40% of the procurement budget for the project.

Being you

Rodelio Lewis, a BeFree beneficiary, said that #BeFree helps young people to see themselves as benefits to society. “This project allows the youth to see themselves in spaces they are not usually invited into. It allows us to truly see ourselves and our imperfections and realise these imperfections are our real strengths. You don't have to be more; you don't have to do the most - you just have to be you."

Sport minister Agnes Tjongarero emphasised that #ProjectBeFree has the potential to significantly address sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and psychosocial service provision in Namibia.

“This project helps to facilitate dialogue with youth across Namibia and will empower our youth.”

The First Lady of Namibia and chairperson of the One Economy Foundation, Monica Geingos, said the aim of the BeFree movement is to help the youth break free from whatever is holding them back and preventing them from reaching their full potential. “This building will institutionalise the #BeFree movement and will become a one-stop youth centre of excellence that will provide a continuum of holistic services. It is my hope that we will create an enabling environment where youth can realise their full potential by providing access to services and opportunities to change the trajectory of their lives.”