KAMPALA – Youth leaders from various districts in Uganda have benefited from a training geared towards equipping them with the necessary skills to enable them to execute their duties.
The training that was organised by Community Integrated Development Initiative (CIDI) under their program dubbed National Youth Advocacy Program (NYAP) in Rubaga, Kampala focussed on advocacy, leadership and budgeting processes.
Ms Hellen Kasujja, the deputy Executive Director of CIDI shared that the organisation took up the training of newly elected youth leaders of both local and central government because CIDI discovered that these leaders had not undergone any training in regard to what they are supposed to do and how to involve themselves in the different processes of government in the areas they represent.
Ms Kasujja explained that as the country prepares for the next financial year, it was important to call on the youth leaders to teach them on their role in helping the government in the budgeting process.
“Many youth leaders do not know the government’s budgeting processes. Government has started the financial year 2022/2023. We had to bring them on board to know how it is done and how they can be a voice of the youth they represent,” she said.
She shared that this training has to be done by the government but it (the government) has partners who can identify gaps where the government has not helped and then give it a hand.
According to Kasujja, youth are over represented because they have youth leaders, women youth leaders, councillors, youth direct MPs, and they only have to package their message to have their voices heard.
“Many people think advocacy is about protesting but this is outdated. We want to teach them a new way of lobbying. They should learn to sit with the government and share their problems to find solutions.”
Ms Evelyn Miyingo Zalwango, a coordinator at CIDI, said they learnt that many youth don’t know issues of governance, democracy, advocacy and budgeting for the people they represent and
She explained that they now want the youth leaders to learn how they can influence the budgeting process, how they can fit in and how they can know the budget cycle.
“We want to show them how the budget cycle works and how they can influence from the grass root to see that youth issues are dealt with. We want them to take part in the budgeting processes so that they can know how to alleviate themselves from poverty.”
The youth leaders that underwent the training were selected from 15 districts from the different regions of Uganda. CIDI hopes that these will act as ambassadors and will go back and spread the news.
“We have picked on average four youths from each region. These will train their peers on their roles and responsibilities in regard to this. We have come out to work with the government to see that the youth are trained to represent well the regions they hail from.”
Geoffrey Mutagobwa, the Youth Chairman of Kiboga District who was one of the attendants of the training shared that most youth have not been taught on how things work in their various positions because this time round government did not do youth orientation.
He says this is not good because if not trained to understand what they have to do, they end up being manipulated and their rights trodden upon.
“We call upon the people we work with at the local government headquarters, ministries like Finance and Gender to continue sensitisation for youth to know most policies because if a number of responsibilities are taken up by these NGOs, we will lose confidence in government.”
Ms Carol Kharono, the Secretary for Female Youth Affairs, in Mityana District another trainee shared that anyone who comes into leadership needs orientation on how to behave and what their responsibilities are and if they do not get this, they are limited in their terms of service.
She shared that most youth came into leadership in lockdown when they were idle and most of them are fast timers in youth politics, so if they are not trained, their service delivery is likely to be shoddy.