Youth overlooked in green hydrogen projects – activists

Activists have raised concerns about the young people of Lüderitz deliberately being overlooked and left out of important discussions regarding green hydrogen projects.

In an interview yesterday, Tauno Hiholiwe, an activist from the town, expressed his concerns over the lack of transparency on issues relating to green hydrogen.

“We want to know what’s going on and how Hyphen is going to promote employment,” said Hiholiwe.

He said despite the introduction of the different projects, unemployment is still a grave concern at Lüderitz.

“Look at what happened with the allocation of green hydrogen scholarships. The majority went to students that are not even part of the southern regions. These are concerns that need to be addressed,” said Hiholiwe.

“We cannot, as a collective, allow other people to benefit from this project, without the people from Lüderitz and the south benefiting first,” he said.

He, however, said the introduction of the projects brings investment and development to Lüderitz.

“We appreciate over the introduction of this project, because of the investment, business opportunities and development it has brought for Lüderitz, but we cannot allow the youth to be overlooked,” Hiholiwe said.

At a workshop recently held by the Nama Traditional Leaders Association, chairperson Johannes Issacks highlighted the importance of including the Nama people in green hydrogen-related projects.

“I am yet to see a Nama person benefit from the project,” community activist Leandro Fredericks said

“I understand such projects are introduced with the hope of promoting youth employment and bringing investment opportunities to our country, but when will we be able to see the benefits? Yes, some of us have been employed, but we need a less stringent recruitment process so that more of us can get employment in the sector,” he said.

Community activist Loui Fransman disputes claims that green hydrogen has not been beneficial to the youth.

“We have seen many young people of Lüderitz getting employment at Hyphen,” he said, adding that it is important for young people to work harder and try to improve their skills, especially with the introduction of study programmes at the Namibia University of Science and Technology to improve their knowledge in these sectors.

“I think it’s important that we, as young people, grab these opportunities as soon as they are presented to us. We cannot always blame our councillors or politicians when things don’t go our way. We need to make sure that we help ourselves,” said Fransman.

He expressed concern over the lack of interest the youth have shown in these projects.

“They do not show up at information workshops, they don’t come to council meetings, so, how do we expect to stay informed if we don’t attend these events specifically aimed at informing us of what is going on?” Fransman asked.

The Namibian reached out to Luderitz councillor Annemarie Hartzenebrg for comment, but did not get an immediate response.

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