Government’s continued fight against poverty should be appreciated

In a bid to fight poverty and promote self-reliance, government of Uganda under the leadership of H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has put in place a number of initiatives to help skill the youth, women, elderly and disabled people.

One of these initiatives is; Skilling the Girl Child Uganda which produced its first batch of 600 graduates in October 2017 and so far has over ten thousand beneficiaries skilled in baking, tailoring, beading, shoe-making, hair dressing and catering, among others.

This presidential initiative targets disadvantaged girls who under the sponsorship of President Museveni are trained for six months in various vocational fields, empowering them to be economically self-sustaining and upon graduation, they are given equipment and start-up capital to kick start production in their various fields of specialty.

As a matter of fact, at the second graduation in August 2018, the president handed over a variety of equipment and tools to the best performers and all graduates were supported with equipment and Shs.1 million as start-up capital. He also pledged Shs.200 million and Shs.60 million to students and teachers’ SACCOs respectively.

In 2013, government put in place a youth fund under the Youth Livelihood Program (YLP). YLP was introduced targeting poor and unemployed youth to harness their social-economic potential and increase self-employment opportunities and income levels with an initial budget of 265 billion shillings.

Implemented under the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development (MGLSD), YLP has so far benefited a total of 175,341 youths. As of 12th May 2018, the program had disbursed Shs.106,867,484,586 to finance 14,195 groups comprising over 175,341 youths, of whom 79,749 (45%) are female and 95,592 (55%) are male.

The program has funded groups from all the 128 districts (KCCA inclusive) and 41 Municipalities across the country in income generating projects in sectors of Agriculture, Trade, service, industry, vocational skills, agro industry (Value addition), creative industry, Agro forestry, ICT, among others.

Target Group for the YLP Fund

YLP targets every Ugandan from 18-25 years with a willingness to work in a group of 10-15 members (at least 30% females, a viable group project with 80% of the budget on core inputs, bonafide residents with at least 6 months of residence in the area where the project originated and priority is given to youth who haven’t benefited from other programs in the past two years.

Qualified beneficiaries are required to present a copy of a National Identification Card, a recent passport photo for each individual member and a group photo, a parent/guardian’s recommendation for each member and funds to open bank accounts.

Selection is done among youth who show interest by filling an Interest Form. The process is conducted through community participatory mechanisms and the selection committee is comprised of Sub-County Chief, Chairperson of the Sub-county Youth Council, Community Development Officer (CDO), Local Council 1 (LC 1) Chairperson and members of the community.

In 2015, the president also established the Youth of Najera Presidential Initiative with common user facilities in metal fabrication as part of government efforts to support people involved in artisan trade, fight unemployment and promote self-reliance among youth. Over 1000 youths have gained hands on skills of metal fabrication and wielding, hair dressing and tailoring free-of-charge from this youth centre.  More than 30 associations have been assisted in metal fabrication, these include about 17 associations at Katwe and over 50 at Kubiri all in Kampala.

In the same spirit of fighting unemployment and promoting self-reliance, the First Lady and Minister of Education Janet Kataha Museveni recently met with the Egyptian Ambassador to Uganda Tarek Sallam together with his wife and Farah Abdel Hamid an expert in jewelry designing and metal smiting to discuss on how young Ugandans could benefit from the Egyptian expert’s knowledge and skills in jewelry making.

The first lady raised concerns of how Ugandans have continued to export silver and gold in raw form yet we could craft special jewels and other items for export and local consumption which in turn would create jobs, reduce importation and increase exportation.

As a lover of jewelry operating a small business importing already made jewelry pieces from China, I face many challenges one of them being very little profits which frustrates my growth. Therefore a training on how to make my own jewelry here locally would not only contribute to the economy but also grow my business tremendously.

With 77% of our population being youth (under the age of 35 years), investing in youth equates to empowering the biggest part of the population. More so, the state of Uganda Population report 2018 indicated that 1.2 million youth in Uganda between the ages of 15 and 29 are idle with the female youth more idle than their male counterparts at 19%. Therefore, the ongoing efforts to skill the youth is vital for the economy and their personal economic growth.

Written by Elizabeth Kibibi a Communications Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.