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The Youth is the Future!

  • Uganda has the youngest population in the world with its 78% of the population being below the age of 30. Now this seems positive, as there is much potential within this group to become a source of innovative and financial growth for the country. Nevertheless, with the staggering figure of 62% of the youth being unemployed, the youth is struggling to make ends meet and as such are and can be forced into illegal means of making an income such as theft, prostitution, drugs etc. This unemployment poses a threat to the country’s security and also threatens Uganda’s future. Thus, it is a very crucial and urgent matter to address.

    Coming to intern with ARUWE as a student in Peace & Conflict Studies from Malmö University in Sweden, I have been so fortunate to been given the opportunity to help to create a entrepreneurship centre for the youth in Kiboga and Kyankwanzi District, where young women and men can develop their skills and be able to become self-employed and independent.

    In accordance with the unemployment of the youth, there is also a tendency of the rural youth to urban migrate for obtaining work in the bigger cities such as Kampala. The issue with this is that many of the young women and men doing so, end up with petty jobs if they are lucky and if unfortunate end up unemployed and have to find other ways of obtaining an income. Thus, focusing on an area such as Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts is an excellent start as we can be part of sustaining the youth in the rural areas, where they can exploit their potential there, become self-employed, continue studies, obtain a sustainable livelihood, and facilitate them in becoming successful.

    The Youth is not only a concern of mine, but also of the country as a whole. As such, the annual PAKASA Youth Forum took place in Kampala on the 23rd of August. I of course attended, and was delighted to see how many cared about this matter. The audience filled the whole room, and many young entrepreneurs had their own success stories to share, and spoke about strategies the unemployed youth should take advantage of. There was even a young man who had started out with digging for others, and from there had saved up so he could buy a small cart and then purchased pineapples to sell them. From there on he had been so successful with selling his fruit, that he had saved for buying an actual van from where he would sell many fruits, and due to his success and savings from it, he had been able to afford to go to university starting this year. The Kenyan president also participated and held an inspiring and truthful speech exiting the whole audience. Issues such as governmental failure to the youth, East African cohesiveness and equality, business advantages across the borders and micro finances were some of the areas that were discussed.

    Nevertheless, even though it is very important to have events such as PAKASA, everything that is discussed and talked about is no guarantee. The Government has failed the youth many times, and they can no longer wait around for the Government to help them out of unemployment. Thus it is up to us people to take charge of our own destinies and grab them by the hand!

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