UNEMPLOYMENT: Luuka district leaders call for an industrial park

Nov 13, 2023

RDC Kinene implored the public to embrace government programs such as Universal Primary and Secondary Education, Emyooga, PDM, and the youth livelihood fund.

(L-R) Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of East African Affairs interacts with Adonia Mafumo the Luuka district youth Chairperson, and MP Esther Mbayo.

Lawrence Mulondo
Journalist @New Vision

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LUUKA - Leaders in Luuka district have implored the government to set up an industrial park to employ youth in the district and its neighborhood.

The leaders argue that if the district gets an industrial park, youth will improve their livelihoods and fight the insecurity that comes with idleness.

Luuka district has a population of 267,000 people. However, the youth population in the district is not certain.

Simon Wakaze, the district LC5 chairperson noted that putting up an industrial park will attract the development of the service sector which often includes businesses such as restaurants, transport, hotels, and private health facilities among others

“The district leadership is ready to provide the government with land for the industrial park to foster development,” he stated.

Wakaze made the remarks over the weekend during the celebrations to mark International Youth Day in Luuka district, an event that was combined with a campaign to end teenage pregnancies and forced early-child marriages.

The event was organized under the theme, ‘Accelerating recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the SDG agenda, a role of the youth in ending teenage pregnancies and child marriages', by Luuka district local government with support from Plan International.

The LC5 chairman observed the need for the government to work on the Kamuli-Luuka road to enable youth and other people in the district to engage in income-generating activities. 

Wakaze pointed out the need to find funds for the youths to put up a youth center to hone their skills for development.

The Luuka district youth chairperson, Adonia Mafumo, explained that they are using the day to remind youth to take the lead in the prevention of forced early child marriages and teenage pregnancies.

According to authorities, 21% of pregnant mothers who seek antenatal care from health centres are below 18 years.

Presiding over the celebrations, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of East African Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, asked parents and community leaders to expose the perpetrators in defilement cases. (All Photos by Lawrence Mulondo)

Presiding over the celebrations, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of East African Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, asked parents and community leaders to expose the perpetrators in defilement cases. (All Photos by Lawrence Mulondo)

Mafumo thanked the government for initiating development programs such as the youth livelihood fund and rallied youth to actively take part and benefit from them.

He, however, said due to poor mindset, some of the youths that have accessed the funds have refused to return the money to benefit others, which he said is frustrating the program from realizing its goals.

Mafumo commended the government policy of allowing pregnant girls to write their exams.

He advised the youths to follow the President’s guidance and engage in commercial agriculture in order to improve their livelihood and develop the country as well.

“As youths, the President has encouraged us to go into manufacturing and value addition in order to get the most out of our products as we export ready products instead of raw materials,” he said.

The Luuka Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Ronald Katende Kinene implored the public to embrace government programs such as Universal Primary and Secondary Education, Emyooga, PDM, and the youth livelihood fund.

He said the government introduced industrial hubs to absorb huge numbers of youth who are trained in different skills and given startup kits to start their own employment.

“Government trains youth for six months at no cost and are awarded a certificate that can help you be absorbed in the market of employment.”

Kinene regretted corruption with the biggest percentage of the funds in different programs not reaching out to the targeted audience.

Presiding over the celebrations, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of East African Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, asked parents and community leaders to expose the perpetrators in defilement cases.

“We need to fight teenage pregnancies and early childhood marriages in order for children to attain education and become useful persons in the future,” she emphasized.

In response to corruption claims, Kadaga ordered the RDC to recover money that had been swindled in different government programs in two months or else the law would take its course. 

“If that money is not recovered we are to use the army to arrest all perpetrators and have them pay money behind bars,” she said.

She agreed with other leaders that an industrial park is necessary in the district and promised to follow up with the cabinet.

Zaituna Asio, the Plan International Uganda program unit manager for East, central program area based in Kamuli district, and Dorian Mugabi said Plan International’s purpose is to provide a just world that advances the rights of children and equality for all.

Mugabi said they have a strategy that has a component titled DECIDE which focuses on protection of the girls from early forced marriages and teenage pregnancies.

“This is aimed at empowering girls by creating a friendly environment in the communities, in schools, and all services points to easy access,” he noted.

Mugabi said their efforts in Luuka district are packaged in a project called Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancies (PROAP) with funding from KOICA and support from government.  

He said the teenage pregnancy in the Busoga sub-region is 28% higher than the national figure of 22%

Students of Nile High School in Luuka district act a skit on ending teenage pregnancies and early childhood marriages. This was during celebrations of the International Youth Day in Luuka district on November 13, 2023. (All Photos by Lawrence Mulondo)

Students of Nile High School in Luuka district act a skit on ending teenage pregnancies and early childhood marriages. This was during celebrations of the International Youth Day in Luuka district on November 13, 2023. (All Photos by Lawrence Mulondo)

Mugabi said under the project they have trained 144 professional health workers in the provision of youth-friendly services.

“We have also trained over 70 village health teams’ members on the provision of family planning services on top of training peer educators on giving recommended Sexual Reproductive Health Services (SRHS) information.”

“We have formed over 54 male action groups that we trained on male’s involvement in SRHS prevention of teenage pregnancies,” he added.

The organisation also procured equipment to help improve health services in the district, and these include examination and surgical gloves, tents, waste bins, TV sets, chairs, and board games among others.

What leaders say

Hajji Meddie Mulumba, the NRM district chairperson said there is a need to focus on supporting the boy child too so the country grooms responsible men that are able to champion the girls’ rights and gender equality in society.

Richard Mafumo, the Minister for Culture in Busoga Kingdom, asked parents to bring up their children as responsible citizens who can develop their country instead of leaving the roles to government alone.

“All youth should know that it is the youthful age that has to work and prepare for the old age and therefore they ought to use this age well,” he said.

Area Members of Parliament Esther Mbayo and Luke Kyobe Inyensiko asked for electricity to be connected to more areas in the district to support the growth of budding businesses and up the life status of Uganda there.

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