KWANIA – In a training meeting with youth leaders from Kwania District, Dr Joseph Odongkara Abraham, a former principal commercial judge in the UK, offered some honest advice: “You have remained poor because of economic ignorance and greed for money.
Odongkara, who is now the provincial secretary to the Bishop of West Lango Diocese, urged youths in Lango to embrace a saving culture to build a firm future financial foundation.
In a speech during the Kwania District youth leaders’ training at the Diocese of West Lango on May 22, Odongkara urged the youth leaders to venture into commercial farming and save the little money they earn to improve their livelihoods.
“Africa has the largest agricultural land, venture into commercial farming and save the little you have before spending, economic ignorance and greed for money has consumed us, you must wake up and be economically vibrant,” he said.
On the high unemployment rate in the country, Odongkara urged young people to stop being selective in picking jobs.
“When I was at the university doing my Master’s degree in Law, I got a job as a toilet attendant for two good years that paid my tuition. My colleagues would call me a toilet attendant but at the end of the day when they wanted money they had to get a loan from the toilet attendant,” he said.
A number of youth leaders who attended the training said they are held back by a lack of vibrant youth projects, financial literacy and unemployment.
Vicky Akec from Chawente Sub County in Kwania district said they formed a youth cooperative at the sub county but members don’t want to save.
“At Chawente Sub County where I hail from, our youth cooperative has 278 members with only Shs 278,000 in savings. The main challenge we are experiencing is a poor saving culture, the young people need to be empowered both intellectually and economically,” she said.
The Dean of West Lango Diocese, Rev. Canon Vincent Ogwang reiterated the importance of developing a saving culture. He urged the youth to form small groups. A good saving culture is the best tool for fighting poverty but it takes discipline and sacrifice, he said.
“It’s hard for an individual to raise the capital needed to run a business, but when you come together into groups and make little savings, you can be able to borrow this money amongst yourselves at a low interest rate and use it to start income generating activities,” he said.
Citing Centenary Bank, he said it started as a Christian saving group, but has since grown into a fully-fledged commercial bank. “This should be emulated by the youth other than lamenting about unemployment,” he added.
He also appealed to youth to dedicate most of their time to productive work rather than engaging in gambling and rioting.
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