After years of growth, the Namibian economy has been in a prolonged recession since 2016. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the crisis. Young people in the country’s remote regions are finding it hard to find prospects for building a professional livelihood. In addition, because many villages are not connected to the power grid, they remain excluded from economic development.
A mobile short training course for young people is intended to get them interested in renewable energies; they are to learn to install solar systems and thus gain a new career perspective.
In addition, the project aims to sensitise local micro-entrepreneurs in the communities of Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Kunene, Kavango East, Kavango West, Omaheke and Karas to the potential of renewable energy. In order to reach the youth and entrepreneurs, a specially-equipped truck will be converted into a mobile classroom.
Young Africa International (YAI), and its offshoot, Young Africa Namibia (YAN), have jointly launched the Solar Booster 4 a Sustainable Future (SB4SF) project. YAI was founded in 1998 and currently operates in five countries as a confederation of independent organisations headquartered in Zimbabwe. Each member of the confederation operates vocational training centres to organise youth employment programmes and community activities.
Young Africa Namibia was established in 2011 with the aim of promoting solar and related clean and affordable technologies in vocational training centres. At its two vocational training centres in Otjiwarongo and Ondangwa, YAN provides vocational training to socially, economically and educationally-disadvantaged young people. YAN works closely with the national solar industry to ensure that courses meet the needs of the sector; the Eenhana Vocational Training Centre and other stakeholders also contribute their input to the work.
With the help of the training truck, a total of 225 young people are to be trained for one month in the assembly and maintenance of solar systems. Afterwards, it is hoped that the young people will become workers of interest to the local solar companies.
During the 15-month project period, 60 entrepreneurs will also be trained and made aware of the different ways to use solar energy in a business environment. In addition, at least 4,500 community members in the selected villages will be made aware of solar energy by means of the project which will introduce them to different household solutions and train them to recognise the quality and durability of solar products.
In a solar mobile, young people in remote villages learn the basics of solar technology, and villagers learn about the benefits to their households.