By Aryampa Brighton
It is a well-known fact that the youth of any country is a great asset. They are indeed the future of the country and represent it at every level. The role of youths in Uganda is more important than we might think. The intelligence and work of the youth will take the country on the pathway of success. As every citizen is equally responsible, the youth is too. It is time we accept that the youth are the building blocks of a country.
The young people are important because they are the present and shape the future. Today they might be our partners, tomorrow they will go on to become leaders. Considering their very energetic and enthusiastic spirits, ability to learn and adapt to the environment and willingness to learn and act on it, Uganda as a country requires young people participation to achieve the goals and help in taking the country towards progress. That said, therefore, I urge the government of Uganda to introduce programs that will engage the young people in fighting off issues like unemployment, poor education institutes and more to help them prosper without any hindrance.
Similarly, all leaders in government, church and cultural institutions must make sure to encourage our youth to do better in every field. We all must make sure that they should be given the wind beneath their wings to fly high instead of bringing them down by tying chains to their wings. This can be achieved from the school setting by encouraging debates and discussions in higher institutions of learning on any policies to be passed to gather their views on such policy benefits and dangers. Invite student leaders and representatives in debates of national importance.
As a country, it is the perfect time we believe that young people are social actors with skills and capacities to bring about constructive resolutions to their own problems. Too often, though, there is a failure or even a refusal to recognize the benefits of youth participation in the legitimacy of young people’s contributions to programs, policies and decision-making. Much of government policy has a direct or indirect impact on young people, yet it is developed and delivered largely in ignorance of how it will affect their day-to-day lives or their present and future well-being.
One example of the disconnection between policy adoption and application relates to education. Most Governments are concerned about improving young people’s educational experience, yet very few take any measures to find out from students themselves which teaching methods work, whether the curriculum is relevant, what factors contribute to school dropout rates and truancy, how to improve attendance rates, what is needed to promote better inclusion of girls, or how to enhance good behaviour and promote effective discipline. It is obvious that schools in which democratic environments are introduced are likely to have a more harmonious atmosphere, better staff-student relationships and a more effective learning environment. Furthermore, equal opportunities must be provided for all irrespective of gender, race, religion and more. There are various issues of nepotism and favouritism that is eating away the actual talent of the country. This must be done away with as soon as possible. We must make sure that every youth has the chance to prove themselves worthy and that must be offered equally to all.
As we near our general elections, citizens should know that young people has the power to build Uganda so they must be given the opportunity. They are the future and they have the perspective which the older generations lack. Their zeal and enthusiasm must be channelized properly to help Uganda prosper and flourish. Support them to occupy political positions rather than fighting them. Participation is a fundamental human right. All people, including the young, have a right to express their views on decisions directly affecting their lives. Whether it is an issue relating to rules imposed at school, legislation, representation of young people in the media, or priorities in public expenditure, youth are entitled to articulate their concerns, participate in the development of policy and have their opinions given serious consideration. Participation represents a means for young people to advocate for themselves and transform their situations. For Uganda to become a green community, youth participation is key.
Aryampa Brighton, director Youth for Green Communities (YGC) a charitable organization based in Kampala.