The Uhuru Institute Youth Camps Addressing Unemployment

The Uhuru Institute has launched the 10th edition of the Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship camp. The youth camp is part of The Uhuru Institute’s transformation programme which aims at holistic empowerment of youth, in the areas of civic responsibility, business productivity, leadership and personal development.

Uganda has a young population. According to the Uganda National Population and Housing census 2014, 22.5 % of the Uganda’s population are youth (18-30) a significant segment that cannot be ignored. Of these, 54% are unemployed and looking to quick gains like gambling and cracking deals. They have loose family and cultural ties, are indifferent about the political on goings, are attracted to western lifestyle with a disregard to local values, they are misinformed with limited exposure to the practical skills that would help them turn their lives around. This narrative challenges those responsible to invest heavily in new opportunities for holistic youth development.

“When you have young active minds and bodies that do not have avenues to exert their energies, we risk having a disorderly society,” said Leonard Okello, the CEO of The Uhuru Institute, during a recent interview.

“The youth need to become entrepreneurs to break even in life. Some of them have unutilized land, but do not farm, yet the potential in agriculture is immense,” he added.

445 youth from various regions of Uganda have been trained since inception of this programme. Of these, at least 40% are now successful entrepreneurs, involved in agribusiness, manufacturing, and fashion, among others. During a 2015 youth camp, one participant Julius Ayebare used the Shs. 50,000 which he was given as transport refund, to start his business. He had access to family land which was lying idle. Julius invested in mixed farming (irish, passion fruits, rabbits, poultry). Today, he earns Shs. 1,500,000 a week from passion fruits alone, during the season. He supplies to major markets in Kabale. His life has transformed tremendously. Julius has since acquired property and educates his siblings and 6 children in his neighbourhood.

This edition the theme is No Excuses. The youth camp is organized in various regions of Uganda and targets 18-30 year olds. The activities include: trainings, expert presentations on taxation, business registration, business and the law; peer to peer discussions through debates; panels, skits, cultural gala nights, learning visits to incubation centres, business premises and sports.

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