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OPINION: World Youth Day Under COVID & The Need To Help Young People Realize Their Dreams

By Rukundo Paul Rwabihurwa, the curious.

Today Wednesday 12th August, the World celebrates International Youth Day, an event that was designated by the United Nations in 2000 with a purpose of giving attention to a given set of culture and legal issues surrounding young people.

This year’s celebration is held under the theme; “Youth Engagement for Global Action.”

Globally, young people have been engaging in quite a number of activities both social, economic, and political. The contribution of these activities has greatly contributed to the growth and development of young people worldwide.

However, as a young person born and raised in a small village Nyeibingo, Kebisoni, Rukungiri District, with great aspirations and dreams, how is this day important to me? This is the biggest question I share with most of other village ‘young champions’ from different corners of this great country.

This year’s event comes at a time when the world is struggling with a pandemic that has had much negative impact on economies. Businesses of young people have collapsed with no hopes of revival and its on such days that we need to globally find solutions for the very many challenges we are facing.

Ambitions and great innovations of young people have been shattered as a result of lack of both national and international clear and formal safe spaces, recognition of young people, and promotion of their innovations to aid in realization of their potential to be what they aspire to become in life. Such days should bluntly address such issues so that the 78% of Uganda’s population is prepared to carry on the transformation of their country.

Uganda established the National Youth Council by the Act of 1993 as a leadership body for the biggest population in the country and since its inception, a lot of achievements have been registered amidst numerous challenges. We are glad it’s still in existence and serving. On such days, this body takes the lead in celebrating the event and quite a number of promises and commitments are made by the Government. The question remains, are these promises fulfilled? If so, do they benefit the young coffee farmer from the hills or Mt Elgon in Sironko or the young mechanics in garages of Katwe? We can never achieve anything without the involvement of the target people, there is nothing for us without us!

The young people of this great country need policies that are going to uplift their standards of living, policies that are going to interest them in entrepreneurship so that they can create jobs for themselves and their peers, policies that are advancing their farms to commercial levels and improve their technology and equip them with ICT skills.

Young people need to easily access credit for their stunted businesses, they need capacity building and investment incentives to aid the growth of their enterprises. This is the only way Government can secure the future of this country.

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