By Francis Emorut
A youth guide to participate in decision making process and influence policies in the country has been developed.
The guide was developed by National Youth Council with guidance by the ministry of gender, labour and social development and funded by United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA).
Mondo Kyateka, the assistant commissioner for youth affairs noted that for effective youth participation to be achieved, youth must be informed, consulted, given space to initiate and contribute to decision making to direct programs and take responsibility.
He was addressing the youth during the dissemination workshop on the youth participation guide at Hotel International Muyenga in Kampala.
The guide titled: “National Youth Participation Guide in Development for Youth and Multi-Stakeholders,” shows that youth can participate in an institution from being interns to being hired as employees as well as volunteers and salaried workers.
The guide points two areas of youth involvement namely; structural and programmatic.
Under structural category duty bearers can actualize youth participation on governance by allowing them to serve on advisory boards or councils, such as board of directors, youth councils and other decision making bodies.
The youth can also participate in human resources acting as recruiters, interviewers or reviewers of applications as well as program coordination and writing proposals on financial development.
As for programmatic category the youth can participate in planning and design of a project including policy and advocacy.
They can also be involved in tracking the implementation of programmes, evaluation and conduct research.
The guide calls upon stakeholders to promote youth participation by providing training and support and recognize youth contribution.
On their part the youth welcomed the guide saying it’s a positive development.
“It will help to make the youth voices heard because it touches all areas where youth can participate,” Peter Mweru, the chairperson of Mbale district youth council said.
Mastula Namatovu, the secretary students affairs Kamuli youth council, pointed out that the guide is useful in that it will build youth leadership capacity and enable them to start income generating activities.
“The guide will help youth become trainers of trainees,” James Batabaire, the chairperson of Uganda National Students Association in Ntugamo said.
Sarah Kityo, the former youth councilor for Mukono noted that the guide will encourage district leaders to give youth space in council meetings and in decision making process.
Rogers Sande Bwanga, Nakasongola district chairperson however disagreed with his colleagues saying the document is a replica of Local Government Act and Equal Opportunity Commission where youth engagement is guaranteed although their voices are not heard.
He said the guide is not necessary but stressed the need of implementing the two Acts.
He was backed by Zabibu Sumbwa the secretary for female affairs in Yumbe district who said as long as district leaders continue to ignore the youth at the councils and don’t empower them with resources to reach the youth at sub-county and parish levels then the dream of youth participation in decision making process can’t be achieved.