Youth building lasting change

The Global Shapers Community is a network of young people driving dialogue, action and change.

13 October 2020 | Education

Justicia Shipena

With the aim of scaling up global, regional and national actions to meet young people’s needs, realise their rights and tap into their possibilities as agents of change, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Namibia last Thursday launched the Shape Skills Project.

Shape Skills is pilot project designed and implemented by the Global Shapers Windhoek Hub.

The project aims to upskill 15 youths in Namibia to improve their chances of employment and career growth through a series of skill-building workshops.

The programme is divided in four thematic areas: Marketing; communications and diplomacy entrepreneurship; project management, and IT and web design.

Inspiring young people

Born out of the World Economic Forum, the Global Shapers Community is a network of inspiring young people under the age of 30. With more than 7 000 members, the community spans 369 city-based hubs in 171 countries.

According to Welda Mouton from the UNIC department of global communications, in each city, teams of Shapers self-organise to create projects that address the needs of their community.

“Projects are wide-ranging from responding to disasters and combating poverty to fighting climate change and building inclusive communities.”

According to the United Nations (UN), the first Shape Skills workshop took place last month, and this month weekly sessions will be held.

Shape Skills responds to the high youth unemployment rate in Namibia, which was stood at 46% in 2018, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency.

It also addresses the weakening economic conditions for employment aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. This pilot project has already confirmed the relevance of initiatives that target youth development, ensure young people are empowered to achieve their full potential and recognise young people’s agency, resilience and their positive contributions.

Windhoek Hub

The Windhoek Hub is filled with young, dynamic individuals who are making an impact in their surrounding society. The hub brings together young people who are willing to share their time and efforts in social projects to enhance and brighten the lives of communities in and around Windhoek.

During the launch, UN resident coordinator Sen Pang said the potential of skills development to address youth unemployment is needed.

“Improving access to these skills is expected to address economic, social and environmental demands by helping youth develop the skills they need for employment and entrepreneurship,” he said.

Pang added that these skills can also help reduce access barriers to the world of work through work-based learning, and ensuring that skills gained are recognised and certified.

Valuable partnership

“It is my hope that this programme will become a sustainable programme, a valuable partnership. Peer-to-peer learning is impactful and this foundation can only be built upon.”

Pang further said he would like to see a Namibian youth that contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals in their everyday lives and through their work because it sees the benefits in them for themselves, for their families, for their communities and for their country.

“Namibian youth have so much potential and I would like to see them taking advantage of it and making the most of opportunities like this programme,” he expressed.

Building a resilient economy

Windhoek hub leader Mpho Katjiuongua said building a resilient economy is difficult and multifaceted exercise.

Katjiuongua said it is vital to understand what are the needs of the population, their local and global challenges and how to prioritise which challenges to address.

“It is such a difficult challenge but the key is cooperation, research and flexibility,” he said.

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