The World Bank has indicated that although Namibia is an upper-middle-income country, more than half of the population still lives in poverty.
According to the World Bank report released last year in January, over 1,6 million people of the 2,6 million population live in poverty, with the youth being most affected.
Speaking at the launch of the Youth Empowerment Programme, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia's Bishop Sagues |Keib highlighted the multiple socio-economic challenges that confront the youth, including unemployment, a lack of skills, poverty, and hunger.
"In response to the youth unemployment crisis in Namibia, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN) initiated the ELCRN Youth Empowerment Program. Currently, during the pilot phase, the program focuses on supporting youth Agri-Enterprises (horticulture and poultry), scholarships for vocational training, and the establishment of local youth resource centers."
The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Sport, Youth, and National Services, Emma Kantema Gaomas, commended the church's involvement in the initiative.
"Dear youth, now that you are equipped with new skills, knowledge, and attributes, it is our hope that you will put them to good use not only for your own benefit but also to enable other young people and the communities that you are going to render service to. You are seen as catalysts of change, and your attitude, dedication, and determination will enable the ELCRN to venture into other viable projects in your favor."
The pilot phase of the ELCRN Youth Empowerment Programme has kicked off in Kalkveld, Rehoboth, and Kalkrand, and 30 beneficiaries (10 youth from each of the pilot sites) have received training.
"We found the training a very productive project as we have learned about poultry and agricultural farming. The project will not only benefit us, but we will give back to the community. Our household and the fellow youth will benefit from more job opportunities as soon as we begin the project," said one participant.
Bishop |Keib urged the participants to take advantage of the initiative.