Uapingene calls for gender balance in Junior Councils

Martin Endjala

The Mayor of the City of Windhoek, Joseph Uapingene has called for gender balance, citing its importance to recognize gender equality by 2030, in line with the United Nation’s Planet 50-50 goals.

The Mayor made these remarks during the 24th official inauguration ceremony of the Junior Council for 2023 /2024 held last week in Windhoek.

Since its inception in 1999, the Junior Council has been represented by 37 schools, including both private and government schools, in the Khomas Region.

The Junior Council programme also includes two special schools for learners with visual and hearing impairments to equip the apprentices with knowledge regarding the work of the Local Authorities and to empower them in order to partake in community initiatives.

Uapingene said that he wants to see gender equality and empowerment of girls, for them to assume meaningful leadership roles and be treated as a priority, adding that Council must remain steadfast and multiply its efforts to amplify the voices of girls and women in leadership.

“I am happy to see that this year’s leadership in the Junior Council programme is indeed girl-empowered. This is what I like to see. Well done”, said the Mayor.

“Girls, be the scriptwriters of your destiny and believe that you are all worthy stars with bright futures”, he added.

Uapingene further noted that the youth plays a critical role in nation-building, adding that that is why it is important that the youth especially, are represented at all levels of decision-making and adequately empowered to have an impact.

He stressed that as the Junior Councillors commence their leadership roles, they should always remember to serve with humility, responsibility, creativity, and measurable impact.

“Remember that you are the building blocks of our country, and we look to you for inspiration,” Uapingene added.

Meanwhile, the incoming Junior Council Mayor Sylvia Shapumba from the Windhoek High School said her election as Junior Council Mayor is a milestone achievement and a new Guinness record.

She was elected as the City of Windhoek Junior Mayor in the elections that took place last month. Vanessa De Oliveira from Concordia College deputizes her. She is taking over from Moses Filipus.

“This is indeed a true testimony to women’s empowerment,”she said.

Shapumba further urged her male counterparts to not feel intimidated and assured them that she takes her role seriously. She added that she is also cognizant that the position does not come freely or easily.

“I, therefore, pledge to lead all Junior Council activities with dedication, discipline, and responsibility, and to be a role model to the hundreds of children with aspirations of one day being a Junior Mayor”, said Shapumba.

Similarly, she urged all Junior Councillors to lead by example during their term and to represent their respective schools, communities and families with dignity and duty of care.

Shapumba has, however, challenged the youth to use the time they have now, to focus on school, sports and creative or entrepreneurial pursuits, which she said will prepare them for life as adults and future leaders.

“This will prevent them from getting involved in unlawful activities.

I will also be solidifying the already existing projects such as the Cancer Project which focuses on the youth and children who suffer from this disease and the HIV and AIDS Project to raise educational awareness amongst the youth with an emphasis on preventative measures amongst others, “Shapumba added.

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