KABALE – President Yoweri Museveni on Friday urged all young people to desist from all forms of indiscipline and to resist the temptations of youth because they will add no value to them but will rather kill their future.
President Museveni was the Chief Guest at the commemoration of the International Youth Day in Kabale District.
This year’s global theme was “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World” and the national theme was “Accelerating from COVID-19 and full implementation of the 2030 Agenda”.
“The first thing you must ensure is the discipline in your life to protect you from the dangers of youth. You must resist the temptations of youths because they’ll add no value to you.”
“Secondly, you have to concentrate on your studies so that you get knowledge and qualifications,” he added.
However, Museveni warned the young people from offering all sorts of educational disciplines that might not help them in future.
“Don’t just study anything because you need a degree. You should be careful. You should choose either something you like well knowing that it may not get you a job or do something that is of value for you.”
Thirdly, Mr. President re-echoed the issue of ideology. According to him, part of the problem is that some of the youth get the wrong ideology; of sectarianism, religion, tribes, and working for foreign interests.
“If you take that route you will fail.”
He encouraged the youth to live a life of productivity and avoid dependency.
He urged them to engage in four sectors of; commercial agriculture where they can participate in either big or small farming, manufacturing, and services like tourism and hotels but also ICT.
“There are jobs known as BPOs, business process outsourcing but also other electronic innovations and we shall support all those innovations.”
Mr. President noted that there are enough raw materials here in Uganda for manufacturing especially those that can add value to agricultural products. “Therefore, we should have a population of wealth creation, not leisure seekers.”
The youths represented by their National Youth Council Chairman Mr. Jacob Eyeru commended the United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA for always supporting them, especially in the fight against teenage pregnancies and early marriages.
“These engagements are intended to talk to the youths about the dangers of early pregnancies but more than that, the mistake of losing out on education. The dropout rate of the girl child is driven by teenage pregnancy.”
He commended the government for reducing the cost of the internet noting that it is a strategic decision that will boost the future of e-commerce in Uganda and have more youth engaged in online businesses.
He reported to Mr. President the long-time complaints of medical interns for always their delayed payments and also delayed deployments.
“Although they were finally able to be deployed, it is a recurring problem which we want to encourage the government to find a lasting solution.”
The other issue the youths raised was the loan scheme which was this year not funded.
“We believe that loan scheme goes a long way of eradicating both small levels of success we have to higher education but also issue of job creation. Over 13,000 young people have so far been educated under the scheme with a prioritization on science education.”
On her part, Dr. Mary Otieno – Country Representative, UNFPA Uganda commended the Government for its continued commemoration of the annual celebrations in recognition of the country’s youthful population since inception on 12th of August, 1999.
The day, she said serves as an opportunity to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.
To fulfil the national theme, Dr. Otieno noted that the role of youth is extremely relevant in today’s world of 1.9 billion young people, most of whom live in developing countries.
“Half of the people on our planet are 30 or younger, and this is expected to reach 57% by the end of 2030. In Uganda, this number is even higher at 76 %. This young population means that there is a potential population momentum for future economic growth once we invest intentionally in critical sectors such as health, education and employment, enabling the country to reap a demographic dividend. This makes young people crucial agents in the achievement of Uganda’s development goals and Vision 2040.”
She noted that much as the pandemic had dire effects on the world, its effects on youth were unequivocal.
A survey on Youth and COVID-19′, conducted by ILO in 2020, revealed that the pandemic not only led to increased rates of unemployment among young people aged 15 to 24 years but also reduced the rates of working hours by 23%, even among those who were employed.
Dr. Otieno noted that in Uganda, during the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescent girls were deprived of the social protection that school and were exposed to increased risks of sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, child marriages, and teenage pregnancies.
Analysis of data from the District Health Information System showed that there was a 17 percent spike in teenage pregnancies during the school closure period. Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Health HIV estimates in 2022, 70% of new HIV infections among young people were found in adolescent girls.
In addition to the effects of Covid-19, she said that young people today continue to be disproportionately impacted by the multifaceted crises facing the world including the climate crisis.
“Given the disproportionate impact of their suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic, young people must be at the forefront of planning for a post-COVID-19 future and what better way than to engage them in emerging issues such as green energy to create employment while also combating climate change.”
Dr. Otieno noted that it is crucial to capitalize on the potential of young Ugandans and to involve them in national and subnational planning and policy development from a demographic dividend, human rights and results-based perspectives for the nation’s COVID-19 recovery.
At the event, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the National Youth Council and 13 UN agencies; FAO, ILO, IOM, UNAIDS. UNCOF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, UN Women and WHO launched the UN Adolescent and Youth Joint Programme.
The Programme, broadly aligned to the Global UN Youth Strategy and the national frameworks and policies, aims to address the barriers hindering youth potential. The focus areas are sexual and reproductive health, inclusive quality education, skills and employment opportunities. climate action, and peace and security. With an approximate value of 22 million USD, the Programme covers 8 districts across 4 regions of Uganda for the 2023-2025 period, which is the first phase with roll-out to other districts.
She retaliated UN’s pledge through the UN Sustainable Development Coopération Framework 2021-2025, supporting several innovations that support youth in contributing to the acceleration of recovery from COVID-19 and achieving the 2030 Agenda.