Passion to positively impact young lives in Namibia

20 November 2020 | People

Monique Adams

Steven Bernardus Harageib is the head of programmes at the One Economy Foundation and a strong advocate of the youth, with a particular focus on mental health and gender-based violence issues.

He was born at Usakos and grew up at Karibib. Although he comes from humble beginnings, he has a number of achievements under his belt.

His public service to influence transformational change through his work at the office of the First Lady of the Republic of Namibia and the One Economy Foundation is informed by his more than ten years’ experience in the non-profit sector and educational background in social work.

He is a co-founding member of the Young Achievers Empowerment Project. He has represented Namibia on several international platforms. He is a 2019 Thomson Reuters Foundation Change Maker, The Young Independent SADC Top 100 Young Leader in the healing category, Apolitical Academy Public Service Fellow, Mandela Washington Fellow and a One Young World Ambassador. He served as the deputy regional representative for Africa at Child Helpline International. He has received outstanding accolades from the Preparing Global Leaders’ Summit in Macedonia, as well as the YALA citizen journalism programme in Jerusalem.

On the continent he has served as the Southern African Commonwealth Youth Representative, and participated in the High-Level Dialogue on Transitional Justice.

As a mental health activist, he believes wellness should be highlighted and integrated into the continental development agenda. He seeks to create spaces for amplifying emerging and new voices to enrich the conversation and dialogues about development.

With his job description he has hands-on experience in the fields of project management, including the provision of technical assistance training, supervision and monitoring of various activities as well.

“I oversee the implementation of the Talented Individual Programme (Education), #BeFree Youth Movement, Mental health and SGBV programmes at the One Economy Foundation,” he says.

He finds being the head of all these programmes very rewarding.

“I am grateful for the privilege of working in the fields of my passion, calling and skill set. Moreover, the impact of changed lives, amplifying lived experiences and learning in for the unsaid continues to fuel my activism,” he says.

In order for him to have good relations with stakeholders, he believes being your authentic self, empathy and being honest goes a long way. As a leader Harageib says he is a serial optimist.

“I believe life has a way of conspiring for things to work out. I am a curious human being and immerse myself in spaces where I can learn, I appreciate dissenting perspectives and experiences as it helps me change my view, improve my ask or strengthen my resolve. As a leader you should be able to hold tensions well,” he says.

“When I have a free time and I get to relax, I keep busy with playing the keyboards, singing, braaiing, winning 30 Seconds and definitely deep meaningful conversations, otherwise known as DMCs, and getting lost in foreign cities because I love travelling,” he says.

The advice he has for young people is to take a chance on yourself, even though you are terrified of disappointments; to take a leap of faith and ‘Just Do It’.

“Define what success means to you and pursue that. Prepare yourself for the tough times but don’t feel ashamed to ask for help. You won’t get everything right the first time; no-one is perfect.

A quote or motto that he lives by is, “Good vibes and butterflies always!”