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Acholi chief calls upon youth to take advantage of their numbers

Rwot David Onen Acana II inspect stalls of youth exhibition of project outputs at Pece war memorial stadium in Gulu town (PHOTO BY DavidOkema)

GULU – The paramount chief of Acholi, Rwot David Onen Acana II has urged youth to form pressure groups to influence changes in government policies that do not favour them.

Rwot Onen was speaking at the launch of a report on Uganda youth unemployment in Gulu at Pece War Memorial stadium. The king said many young people grapple with unemployment because programmes are imposed on them without their input making it hard for them to excel.

“I appreciate the participatory methodology VSO Uganda used to support the youth. Most times a lot of programmes for the youth are designed and imposed on the youth and they normally do not yield results,” Onen said.

The chief noted that the Ugandan population being majorly young, the youth can use their numerical advantage to influence political and economic policies positively. “I encourage you to form pressure groups to influence policies that do not favour youth, but I do not form bad groups,” he advised.

Mrs. Betty Aol Ocan, Women Member of Parliament for Gulu District said the problem of unemployment among the youth is due to bad governance. Ocan said the challenges will continue until concerted efforts are put together to squarely tackle issues affecting the youth.

The MP said the youth especially in Northern Uganda are left behind compared to others in different parts of Uganda due to the two decades of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) war which kept many in Internally Displaced Person’s Camps, hence many missed opportunities including education.

Mrs. Rosalba Oywa, an elder and educationist blamed the unemployment among youth on lack of mentorship and support by parents, which she said leads to the youth not being able to create jobs.

She advised the youth to drop the ‘get quick benefits’ attitude which is pushing many into gambling and criminality.

Simon Wokorach, who represented the Gulu Resident District Commissioner blamed the youth for not taking advantage of the government youth programmes like the Youth Livelihood fund, NUSAF and PRELNOR.

The report titled ‘Understanding Barriers to Youth Unemployment in Uganda and Kenya’ done by Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Project-YEEP in the district of Nakuru, Machakos in Kenya and Gulu in Uganda showed that in the last one year 81% youth lacked qualifications for available jobs because they didn’t get skills, 15% could get jobs because of discrimination. In Kenya only 16% faced corruption in an attempt to get jobs.

The report pointed to key barriers to employment particularly in microenterprises being lack of employable skills and competencies, youth perception for decent jobs, and businesses not providing enough employment to young people.

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