TYI’s SADC Top 100 of 2019: Bernardus Harageib, Healers

Bernardus Harageib is an activist and social commentator with over 10 years’ experience in the non-profit sector. 

He is known for his efforts towards raising men up to be allies in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV). 

Bernardus holds a Bachelor of Arts in social work and is currently pursuing his Master’s, focusing on online harassment.

In 2004 Bernardus co-founded a non-profit organisation called Young Achievers Empowerment Project, which provides a safe, supportive space for youth engagement and empowerment. 

He invites professionals from different industries to expose young people to possible career paths. He conducts workshops and seminars, and offers ongoing one-to-one coaching for young leaders. He has also been the strategic partnership officer for the Namibia Youth Coalition on Climate Change and is currently a mentor on the Namibian Opportunities platform. 

As the programme manager at Lifeline/ChildLine Namibia, Bernardus raised awareness about mental health and wellness, and was instrumental in ensuring access to psycho-social support for vulnerable groups. In this role, he led the first 14 hour a day, seven days a week call centre that provided counselling through its toll-free helplines. 

The helplines were manned by a multidisciplinary team of social workers, psychologists, community-based counsellors and volunteers who provided tele-counselling and face to face counselling from critical cases such as suicide to relational problems and cyber bullying. 

In 2018, through a flagship intervention in schools, the organisation reached over 11 000 learners with child online safety awareness in seven regions across Namibia. Community-based lay counsellors were trained to provide psychosocial support, resulting in an increase in help-seeking behaviour. These counsellors provided counselling in vernacular languages, which helped to break down barriers of access. 

He participates in various organisations such as the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, African Union Commission’s Department of Political Affairs, Continental Forum on Transitional Justice in Africa, and East and Southern Africa Regional Consultations with African Governance Architecture (AGA). 

Bernardus has represented Namibia on several international platforms, including serving on the Child Helpline International advisory board as the deputy representative for the Africa bloc; he is a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, past regional participant in the Mandela Institute for Development Studies, One Young World ambassador, former Southern African Commonwealth youth representative, to name a few of his passions. 

Bernardus believes young people, as de facto mavericks, see the world through a different lens and this is something that can be leveraged to bring about significant change. He adds that the youth are showing up, participating and engaging in conversations about governance and becoming accountable for the developmental agenda. 

Going forward, Bernardus would like to play a more pivotal role in helping people in the region heal from historic trauma and the pain of present structural inequality. He is passionate about re-framing the narrative that young people are not active citizens. 

In his view, TYI’s SADC Top 100 provides a unique opportunity to network and enhance the resource pool of people he can learn from and with whom he can forge strategic partnerships.

Source: The Young Independents

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We support the development of a diverse, strong network of public leaders to contribute to the development of open, creative and vitally democratic societies everywhere. By engaging and training people to participate in the public life of their countries, Apolitical Academy hopes to revive trust in politics and government and revitalise democracies everywhere.

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