Youth lobby Government on education and employment
Youth in Northern Uganda this year got an opportunity to engage the State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi. At the Annual Northern Region Youth Conference and Exhibition held recently in Gulu, youth advocates under Save the Children’s Youth Empowerment Bulgari Program in Gulu, Amuru and Nwoya districts presented key issues affecting them and called upon the leadership at all levels to make policy and political changes for them to have a better life. Key among the issues raised were the low level of youth participation and access to information, limited land for production, early marriage, high school dropout rate, low educational levels of the youth, drug abuse, low access to government development programs, harsh diseases like nodding disease as well as gambling to make ends meet.
The minister commended the youth for realizing the issues that affect their progress and pledged to increase funding to the National Youth Council by ensuring that the funds come right from the district councils and are accounted for to regulate misuse. She reminded the youth about government programs like the UGX32billion Youth Fund, the Private Sector Fund Uganda Programs, CDF Funds and the new “Sauti” Fund that is meant to give cash grants to teenage mothers.
The conference and exhibition were attended by over 2,000 young people, government representatives and development partners from Amuru, Nwoya and Gulu Districts and Police chiefs from the districts of Gulu, Nwoya, Amuru and Omoro.
11 youth on the YEB project were awarded for excellence in saving consistently and borrowing to invest in viable income-generating activities, increased income and welfare by the youth and their family, support to their parents/caretakers and siblings, transfer of knowledge and skills acquired to their fellow youth within the community and women for successfully excelling in male dominated trade (welding and motorcycle mechanics).
Save the Children, with funding from the Bulgari Foundation based in Italy, is implementing the five-year Youth Empowerment Bulgari Project in Amuru, Nwoya and Gulu districts with the aim of improving employability and access to socio-economic opportunities for marginalised and deprived youth aged 12-20 years.
By Immaculate Nalubyayi
Communications Officer, Save the Children