Gaborone — Professor Sheila Tlou has praised the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation (SKMF) for its commitment in the upliftment of youth, especially the girl child.
Speaking at the 8th annual fundraising gala dinner, which also coincided with the foundations 10th anniversary at GICC on Tuesday, Prof. Tlou said it was critical for organisations and governments to engage youth in the formulation of policies which directly affected them.
Prof. Tlou, who is the director of the UNAIDS regional support team for East and Southern Africa,
Prof. Tlou said contrary to what some people might think, the youth of today were highly educated and knowledgeable.
She said they only needed guidance and jointly formulated policies that could transform their lives and reduce the level of unemployment.
She added that unemployment was rampant in Africa, especially among female youths.
Prof Tlou said while the population of Africa was expected to increase in the next decade with the youth topping the list, African governments should take it as a challenge and come up with robust policies which would create sustainable jobs. Prof. Tlou said without employment, the youth would become rebellious and mischievous because of lack of employment.
Prof. Tlou, who is also a former health minister, said African countries should strive to fulfil Sustainable Development Goal 30 which calls for a decrease in various diseases and neglected tropical diseases, including HIV/AIDS to attain good health, especially for the youth.
Prof. Tlou, who is based in South Africa and was recently elected UNAIDS board of trustees member together with University of Botswana's Prof. Bojosi Otlhogile, said AIDS was still the leading cause of adolescent and youth deaths in the continent, and that governments and organisations should proactively deal with the drivers of HIV and AIDS.
Prof. Tlou praised the Sir Ketumile foundation for striving to facilitate and drive efforts to promote peace and good governance, children's welfare and innovation and alternatives in agriculture.
Prof. Tlou praised the recent motion which called for the provision of sanitary pads to all school going students, saying it was long overdue.
She called for a clear sexual reproduction and gender equitable services policy for the youth, and further urged the private sector to invest in the youth.
She also noted that the number of youth in Botswana was not high, adding that the country has only two million people.
Speaking at the same event, Sir Ketumile foundation chairperson, Mr Mmetla Masire said the fundraising dinner was special in the sense that they were turning 10 years.
He also introduced Ms Gaone Masire-Moyo as the new patron of the foundation, taking over from his late father, Sir Ketumile. He said they had achieved a lot and were looking forward to reaching another decade with more energy to achieve their mandate.
Source : BOPA