By Mariam Namakula
Horn of Africa Youth Network (HoAYN), a regional network of youth serving organizations working to foster sustainable, equitable and youth-led development in the East and the Horn of Africa Region has tipped the government on how to improve on youth livelihood amid Covid-19 constraints.
Speaking to the media on Friday, May 28, after the youth consultative forum at imperial Royale Hotel Kampala, HoAYN chairperson Sankale Ole Keis, said that many businesses and youth initiatives across the world have been halted by the effects of the pandemic and therefore government needed to render all the necessary support to the youth if Uganda was to achieve sustainable development.
The two days’ event organized by HoAYN in partnership with the Youth Council (YC) aimed at understanding the challenges and opportunities that the youth could explore so as to champion regional integration and development.
According to Ole, like her counterparts (Kenyan government) that issued funds to support the youths, whose businesses were affected by the pandemic, through the youth fund, Uganda needed to create more avenues for the youth to source and gain financial opportunities.
“Am urging the government to provide a stimulus package for all the youth whose businesses have been affected, this will ensure that the youth jump start their lives again,” he said, adding that one of the main challenges youth faced in administering startups was the lack of resources especially the much needed capital to run and maintain businesses.
“The Government of Kenya has encouraged the youth to engage in odd jobs like cleaning streets, to ensure that they have something in their pockets,” Ole said .
He continued and stressed that all these were meant to help the youth and therefore they should take advantage in order to keep their minds off the grid.
Working with other Member States from the EAC and EGARD where Uganda is a member and a partner respectively Ole also noted that the government should recognize what could be a great strategy to fight youth employment and empowerment only if there is action in all the polices and laws and that they don’t remain ink on paper.
This he said was to end frustration among the majority youth due to the increasing rates unemployment in Uganda.
“According to the youth council in Uganda many affirmative action funds are very good but always slow to implement,” he said.
He credited the youth council in Uganda for the exemplary leadership a thing that should be adopted by the entire member states especially Kenya that had its youth elections in 2012.
The initiative also aimed at training journalists on how to sensitively report gender sensitive issues.
According to the project coordinator Diana Ouma, the project aimed at contributing to the building of an Africa regional movement of GYW to champion and influence relevant actors to promote their participation in key spaces.
The project will focus on the Africa Union and the East African Community, also linking with the country programmes in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Mali.
“The project will use media advocacy as one of the strategies to influence and change the behaviour, attitudes, policies and practices since media plays a significant role not only in disseminating information, but also in shaping public debate and opinion and increasing in changing behaviour,” she said.
She added that this was to ensure diverse coverage and holistic engagement, through the use of both traditional, mainstream media and new media (digital media and social media platform).