Statistics show that Uganda has the world`s youth population with 78% of the population being below the age of 30. As of 2020, Uganda`s population is estimated to be at 45.7 million people, and 78%. Of this means 35.6 million people in Uganda are under the age of 30 years. For a humanitarian, that becomes the greatest resource that a country can ever have. Yet when misused, abused, or underused, that can significantly become the greatest threat to the development of any country.
Youth is the strength of a nation because they are the most energetic, most creative, when watered right; they can be the most fruitful. It is for this reason that they should be given the most attention and focus. Because they are the custodians of the future. The future state of affairs in any country be it political, social, or economic is 100% in their hands. So if they are denied the relevant information, and knowledge that they need to become productive, the future is at great risk of collapse.
Empowerment has been defined as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident. Especially in controlling one`s life and claiming one`s rights”. This implies that empowerment is broad and it touches major aspects of a person`s life including but not limited to; social, mental, economic, political, spiritual, emotional, etc. Even though the youth make up the largest percentage of Uganda`s population.
Numbers of Youth in Uganda.
Sadly, the unemployment rate of the youth is still at 13.3%. Statistics show that 83.5% of the Ugandan population aged between 15-29 works in informal jobs. This means that most of them are not regulated or protected by the state in their work. As a result, they are more exposed to poor working conditions, exploitation by their employers. And in some cases, they become prone to illegalities such as human trafficking, all with the hopes of getting better employment opportunities overseas.
Youth, when misused and abused, can become the most dangerous threat eat to the development of any country. This is because if they are unemployed or underemployed they resolve to more drastic measures. Such as crime and illegal means of earning a living. When youth are excluded from the political scene of any country, out of frustration they can cause political unrest in the whole country. It is for this reason that a lot of focus should be put on empowering them and involving them in every aspect of the nation. They deserve to be heard, and they must be included in the problem-solving process of society.
Youth should be empowered because they are good executors of programs mainly because of their strength and vigor. It becomes very disappointing when the elders in a society exclude the youth. This is because they view them as a threat to their gain and benefit. The elders in society should take up the role of mentorship and mentor the youth and prepare them to take the wheel into the future. That way, we can be assured of continuity when it comes to development.
Youth empowerment should be adopted as a serious agenda through capacity building and training, mentorship, employment, and encouragement. They should be given a platform to take part in the leadership of any community and their human rights should be respected.
As a way of reducing the crime rates in any country, youth must be kept busy through engagement in productive work. In Uganda, agriculture has been known as the biggest employing sector. Youth should be incorporated into the different sectors in the country and they should continuously be included.
Youth empowerment should be taken seriously and more money should be allocated to do this. The education sector should be manipulated in such a way that it encourages creativity among the youth, to produce more job creators than job seekers. By so doing, they need to hire for expatriates will be reduced as more of our own will be employed in every sector of the economy.
It is also key to empower the youth because by so doing, the other resources of a country can be put to use by those who are affected by the problems and challenges in society. Those who have been pressed by the pangs of poverty can be able to tailor local solutions to the local problems and create employment opportunities that fit into their societies. This implements all problems easily because they are embraced by the local people in the community. And they can ensure that it works.
It is also, important to know that one does not need to be in a position of leadership or influence to empower youth. All that is needed is to have passion and you can do this through peer-to-peer influence.
Empower the youth, because they are the strength of any nation.