Zelda Natasha Hakskeen – Namibia

Zelda Natasha Hakskeen – Namibia

Date: May 29, 2012
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I am juggling the responsibilities of being a junior council representative of Keetmanshoop, a youth activist, and a clerical assistant at the ministry of youth. Even though I’m only 19, I endeavor to come up with initiatives and programs to build capacity in lives of the youth around Keetmanshoop.

I was elected to the junior town council as the out of school youth representative, and was introduced to Gender Links on short notice. I didn’t know about it until a competition was held on climate change and sustainable development. I spearheaded a presentation, and became very interested in how a category such as sustainable development could be linked to gender equality. So I entered the competition, and became a runner-up with my case study of climate change.

I was really impressed by Gender Link’s push for equality. The beauty of this is that there are so many different categories linked to gender equality. There is really a wide approach taken to issues, exploring different paths, loopholes, and opportunities for local councils to take advantage of in their work. It’s a great way for local government to get involved. I learned something about leadership, climate change, and sustainable development.

The previous speaker of the youth parliament said that youth shouldn’t be punished because they have done wrong, and I agree with her. Instead, we should be given a chance to express ourselves. There are a lot of role models, and there is so much we can do to address issues like these. Bringing change to people in decision-making positions will help change the mindset of others too; that will bring about changes of behavior in the community.

After learning about Gender Links, I’m now in a position to go back to the people of Keetmanshoop, and share how gender is an important priority. Moreover, rural development and local government can integrate gender into their agendas, and be more effective as a result.


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