Youths Embrace Government Initiatives on International Youth Day 2023

A young man inspects the rice he has recently threshed. Regrettably, many young people tend to overlook promising green employment opportunities within the agriculture sector. PHOTO/BENARD BALUKU

Uganda and the global community are currently observing International Youth Day, an annual event that falls on August 12.

The focus of this year’s observance revolves around the theme: ‘Green skills for youth: Towards a sustainable world’.

In the lead-up to this significant day, Mondo Kyateka, who serves as the commissioner for youth and child affairs within the gender ministry, shared insights. He noted that many young individuals in Uganda display hesitation when it comes to engaging with government initiatives aimed at fostering economic prosperity.

It’s worth highlighting that Uganda boasts the distinction of having the world’s second youngest population. An impressive 78 percent of its 46 million citizens are below the age of 35, according to data from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Despite this youthful demographic, Uganda faces the challenge of grappling with a substantial youth unemployment rate, ranking among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately eight million youth between the ages of 15 and 30 are impacted by this economic disparity.

Kyateka underscored the observation that these young individuals are primarily drawn to programs that are uniquely tailored for their demographic. He cautioned that this mindset could impede their ability to recover from the hardships inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected the youth, and rebuild their careers and enterprises.

In light of this, Kyateka advocated for the youth to embrace a broader range of government initiatives, including the Parish Development Model, wherein 30 percent of funds allocated to the parish are designated for youth-focused endeavors. Furthermore, Kyateka mentioned the Emyooga funds that are specifically designed to bolster youth-led entrepreneurial ventures. Additionally, young individuals can avail themselves of opportunities presented by the SME recovery funds and the Agriculture Credit facility offered by the Bank of Uganda.

The United Nations defines green skills as encompassing “knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.”

Uganda’s chosen theme for this year’s International Youth Day is: ‘Accelerating recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the role of the youth’. This national theme underscores the urgency for all stakeholders to collaboratively devise strategies for steering the economy towards recovery post-pandemic.

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