As Democracy needs democrats, Democrats must have the capacity to share the behavioural and ethical standards with which to take responsibility as Namibian citizens and servants. With the median age in Namibia being just under 22 years (in 2020), youth is the pillar of the current and future society. Youth must be empowered to defend democracy, form networks, participate in socioeconomic and political development, and debates in their communities. This is a precondition for a prosperous society.
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) started engaging with young Namibians in 2007. In collaboration with the National Youth Council (NYC) and the Ministry of Sports, Youth and National Services (MSYNS), FES implemented the Youth Leadership Development Programme (YLDP). In 2020, YLDP was taken over by the National Youth Council. Many young leaders were trained from 2008 until 2020, and they are now actively shaping the future of Namibia as decision makers. In 2008, graduates of YLDP founded the Youth Leadership Development Programme Alumni Association (YLDPAA). The YLDPAA aims to safeguard the interest and rights of the youth by promoting unity among the Namibian youth, irrespective of political, social, or religious affiliation.
In 2021, FES partnered with the Economic and Social Justice Trust in the School of Activists. The School of Activists strives to inspire activists from diverse backgrounds who are committed to addressing critical socio-economic and political challenges affecting their communities. The School of Activists explores various debates and possible actions to influence positive change. The topics covered include inequality, unemployment, poverty, decent housing as a human right, the struggle for a living wage, climate justice and the ecological crisis, political economy, social protection and gender justice. The School of Activists provides hands-on and minds-on guided learning activities in a free-thinking atmosphere to help the participants be creative, innovative, and radical, and to realise that they are capable of initiating positive socio-economic and political changes. Monthly sessions include interactive seminars, roundtable discussions, film screenings, and engagement with community-based organisations to innovate fresh ideas of effective activism against socio-economic injustices.
YLPD Alumni, FES, and graduates of the School of Activists believe that Social Justice is a crucial cornerstone to ensure social cohesion and strengthen Namibian democracy.