Every August 12 each year, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Youth Day (IYD). The Day is celebrated to recognize efforts of the world’s youth in enhancing global society. It aims to promote ways in which to engage youth to become more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities.
This year’s National celebrations were held at Katakwi High School, Usuk County in Katakwi District and brought together development partners, government leaders, community and religious leaders, young people from across the country to showcase and celebrate youth development. To celebrate this date, there were several activities organized, among them; free Hiv/Aids testing, free male circumcision, productive works, a cultural gala by the Ugandan police, and concert with leading artists from Teso sub region.
Although, the international theme for this year was: “Youth civic engagement,” the Government of Uganda chose “We are the investment choices we make: youth matter as the National theme. The choice of the theme was inspired by the importance attached to the young people in the development process according to Mr. Mondo Kyateka, the commissioner for youth and children in the ministry of Gender, labor and social development. “Investment in youth makes social, economic and political sense and is crucial for human capital development and social capital cohesion” said Mondo.
August 12, 1999 was declared as International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly. According to UN statistics, about 18 percent of the world’s population is composed of young people between 15 and 24 years old, more than 200 million of them live in poverty, about 130 million are illiterate, nearly 74 million are unemployed, and some 10 million are living with HIV/AIDS whilst many girls and young women continue to face violence and discrimination.
Uganda has a population of 34.9 million according to the provisional 2014 national census statistics out of which, 78% are below the age of 30 years. According to statistics from the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, around 400,000 youth are annually released into the job market to compete for about 90,000 available jobs, creating a job deficit of 310,000 annually. Youth unemployment in Uganda stands between 64% and 70% with about 30% of the youths who are institutionally qualified in Uganda unable to find jobs. The situation is even worse for semiskilled and unskilled youths in the informal sector. In spite of government’s remedial response through strategies such as youth grants through agricultural programmes like ‘Entandikwa’, NAADs (National Agricultural Advisory Service) and Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), youth unemployment challenge continues to loom large. Continue reading