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Community Information Sharing Session | #BeFree Centre of Excellence

Our Community Information Sharing Session took place yesterday at the Windhoek Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre in Katutura.

This was the perfect opportunity to share our #BeFree Centre of Excellence dream and vision with members of the community. The session was also created as a platform to allow community members to ask questions, gain clarity and provide feedback on the development of the #BeFree Centre of Excellence.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Dibasen Bonnie Gawaseb, Senior Youth Officer at the Windhoek Multi-Purpose Youth Resource Centre, emphasised that together we want to start changing the faces of youth centres. "This change is meant to address the meaningful and real problems in our society," he said.

Mr Gawaseb welcomed this complementary addition to the current Youth Resource Centre. He added that it's crucial that we provide safe spaces and prevent frustrated young people from falling through the cracks.

ONE's Programme Manager, Saddam Biwa, then presented an overview of the #BeFree Centre of Excellence. He outlined the services that will be available as well explaining how the design integrates with the existing schools and organisations to tie together the current youth centre.

The QnA session then presented community members in attendance the opportunity to address any concerns or ask questions.

Q: Our fear is that when a project like this is done, the workforce is always hired from outside? A: Community engagement is crucial in identifying the individuals with a particular skill that ties into the current phase of construction. After a session like this, we can then engage the site contractor to consider individuals that meet the necessary criteria. Q: Do you see #BeFree expanding beyond Windhoek? A: Yes, this centre is meant to be a pilot project that is ultimately decentralised across the country. We’re hoping the seed that we plant here can be a framework that is implemented in other regions. It starts with sessions like these where we can engage, generate ideas and understand the actual needs of the young people in their respective communities. Q: What are the criteria for selection? A: Skilled and unskilled members of the community will be put into a database where the project contractor can then select members based on their particular skill set and the required job specification. Q: How will the Centre address young people with disabilities? A: Universal access and inclusivity were key factors during the design as the building had to cater for everybody and be a place where everybody has access to every space. This is reinforced by the integration of the Centre of Excellence which is meant to complement the existing services already offered here. Q: How will skilled young people be able to offer their services at the youth centre? A: It’s through engagements such as this information sharing session that we can learn about the wants and needs of the community and how we can prepare around that to accommodate them.

In closing, our Project Officer, Helena Ngaifiwa expressed gratitude to the community members for coming out in numbers. She further encouraged them to grab the opportunities of employment that the project promises to offer them by submitting their CVs.

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