BY NICHOLAS OPOLOT (LLB 2)
Stories abound of how many disgruntled youth flock the dusty streets of Uganda effortlessly searching for employment to no avail, daily.
Further, only 8,000 jobs are available for the 100,000 university graduates who complete their studies per annum. This often translates into frustration, unmet expectations and depression for those unemployed.
One then wonders: have the youth been condemned to the jaws of utter poverty? As an optimist, I do not subscribe to such oversimplified narratives. I believe in a better tomorrow for the youth in Uganda. I know that resilience can aid the youth in finding sustainable work, receiving better education and contributing to peace and development in their communities.
To achieve these dreams, we need not sound like impotent conference table lamentations but instead adopt a comprehensive and holistically strategy for the youth. Stakeholders should emphasize formulation of practical, tailor-made incentives of the youth.
The government has endeavoured to put in place state partnerships to enable the youth start up businesses. For instance, the Youth Livelihood Fund was initiated by President Yoweri Museveni, to the tune of over Shs265 billion.
This fund was initiated in the faith that the youth could acquire start-up capital. The repayment of such grants could come from the enterprise profits. Active participation in such beneficial projects will catapult youth development in Uganda.
The government should also try to implement cheap financing in the agri-business sector so as to improve livelihoods. Furthermore, the discovery of oil and gas in the Albertine Region means that more opportunities can be created for the youth to enable them substantively contribute to society.
Further, those making small and bigger triumphs ought to get rewarded with grants for their success. And increased investment in health, sexual and reproductive health can all pave the way for socio-economic growth.
In the area of reproductive health, self-help projects for young women prevents them from having no choice but to stay home in a role that limits their ability to work outside their home, against their will to do so.
Other social evils that need to be addressed include betting and hooliganism.To counter this, a number of things can be done. For example, the graduates should embrace internship so as to garner more skills and experience for job market absorption.
A positive attitude also helps the youth to adopt to change and embrace new opportunities. Finally, to all the hardworking youth out there, it is time for us to conquer hurdles and toast to new beginnings. Don’t lose hope yet.